Russia bans music portal Last.fm

Russia bans music portal Last.fm
Russian alternative rock band Psychea (Image: Aleksandr Samoylik)

28 August 2015

Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has banned online music portal Last.fm for offering the song Kill a cop (Ubey menta) by Russian alternative rock band Psychea.

The chorus of the song reads: “Beat me, trample me, cut me to pieces — I’ve gone completely insane. The situation is getting out of control, and I hope it’s worth it. Kill a cop! (How much is your freedom worth, anyway?)”

While the authorities first banned the song five years ago, after a Moscow court placed it on the government’s list of illegal extremist materials, Roskomnadzor first made significant efforts to restrict access to online resources that hosted copies of Kill a cop in summer 2014. Since 24 September 2014, when a court in the city of Kirov again instructed the authorities to ban websites hosting the song, Roskomnadzor has blocked several online resources, including the music portal Muzofon.com.

Last.fm was added to the government’s official registry of blocked websites on 27 August. As Russian internet service providers are unable to restrict access to a single song, they were forced to block the entire portal.

Nevertheless, YouTube, which is accessible in Russia, still hosts roughly 1,740 copies of Psychea’s song.

The blocking of Last.fm is the latest development in Russia’s crackdown on internet freedom, and comes soon after the brief ban of online encyclopedia Wikipedia earlier this week.