Russian films being sold as apps without consent

A number of popular Russian films from the Soviet era are being sold as apps without the consent of the copyright holders, according to a new report. The BBC reports that films such as Gentlemen of Fortune, Assa, The Diamond Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka are being sold on the App Store, despite the lack of consent from copyright holders Mosfilm, a Russian film studio, and the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia). “It is illegal to present our films as applications either in iTunes or on any other internet site. It is permitted only on our own Mosfilm site”, Svetlana Pyleva, Mosfilm’s deputy director-general, told “The only official internet site where you can watch legal Mosfilm content is the Mosfilm site. There are no third parties which we have permitted to use our content.” She added that the studio was preparing to submit a claim to Apple.

Ekaterina Toropova, press-secretary of the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia), said it had not given permission or issued licenses for such apps, either. “The [Joint State Film Collection] retains all exclusive rights”, she said. “We’ll try to get in touch with the developers. It is possible that they obtained licenses from someone else and they themselves are in the dark as they are sure that they sell a legitimate product. We’ll explain to them that they are wrong.” Apple intends to investigate the apps, according to spokesperson Christine Monaghan, who added, “we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately.”

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