updated 11:45 am EST, Mon January 31, 2011
Pirates using apps to profit
A series of Soviet-era movies are being sold illegally on iTunes via the App Store, the BBC reports. These include titles like Assa, Gentlemen of Fortune, The Diamond Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka. Despite being produced under communism, both Mosfilm and the Joint State Film Collection are asserting various copyrights. Mosfilm is said to be preparing a formal claim to submit to Apple, which insists it will act when it receives a complaint.
"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," says Mosfilm's deputy director general, Svetlana Pyleva. "There are no third parties which we have permitted to use our content," she adds. "Maybe Apple will take appropriate measures and help us solve the problem."
JSFC press secretary Ekaterina Toropova notes that her organization had no idea its movies were being sold on the App Store until the BBC mentioned it. "We'll try to get in touch with the developers," says Toropova. "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."
The Ukrainian developer of the Cheburashka app, Vladimir Penshin, has openly stated that he released it without permission. "Of course, I do not have any license agreement," he comments. "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." He also admits that the app's creation was motivated purely by profit, and that his actions were wrong. "Maybe I am breaking the law," he says.