Russian Films Being Sold on iTunes

According to the BBC, very old Russian movies are being sold through Apple’s iTunes service without the consent of the copyright holders. Copyright doesn’t ever “go away” – even if the media is considered to be outdated or old. Proper consent is still needed to sell things such as the movies in question, and this consent was never given to the app makers in question.

The popular movies were made available to download as separate smartphone (paid-for) apps via iTunes. The copyright owners – Russian film studio Mosfilm and the Joint State Film Collection – have said publicly that no consent was given to anyone for the films to be sold in the app store.

“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, said in an interview. “The only official internet site where you can watch legal Mosfilm content is the Mosfilm site.,” she said. “There are no third parties which we have permitted to use our content.”

Apple has said that they take claims such as this very seriously, and have already taken action.

The BBC’s Russian Service spoke to Vladimir Penshin – a programmer who lives in Ukraine who has created an app for iTunes from the film Cheburashka. He admitted that he used the content to make money without any permission: “Of course, I do not have any license agreement”, he said. “This is all very simple. The companies, who can have complaints, submit them to Apple and Apple notifies me that they have to withdraw the application.”

Mr Penshin has also created and offered for sale an application based around the animated series “Penguins of Madagascar” produced by US studio Dreamworks.