AAPL Stock: 128.95 ( + 3.8 )

Printed from

Soviet-era films being sold illegally on iTunes, say firms

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.

by MacNN Staff





  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Copyright in the Developing World

    While developed world is far from perfect here, there needs to be a lot of serious education done in the developing world regarding the value of copyright and respect for it.

    Vast majority of formerly Soviet Bloc countries, as well as pretty much all of the developing world has absolutely no clue what copyright violation actually means. In many of those countries, the level of content creation has proportionately diminished, compared to the period up until about 15 years ago, when copying became significantly easier. Musicians no longer produce albums in order to generate revenue. Studios rarely invest much in films; unless they can raise money through some major corporate sponsorships, producers don't bother making movies. Almost nobody has any moral qualms about illegally copying entertainment or software. Not only that; many actually make a living knowingly (and willingly) selling counterfeit, pirated or bootlegged content.

    The attitude of that Ukrainian developer is fairly typical. It is unlikely he will every be prosecuted for anything within his domestic jurisdiction.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cue ignorant anti-Ukrainian/Russian comments now

    I was in Ukraine when they began cracking down on pirates.

    Yes, after the Soviet Union fell - for a time you could buy pirated copies of Windows and software on any street corner, but they cracked down - hard.

    Is there still a problem with piracy - of course, the same is true of America - piracy exists, and individuals don't always get caught. But the reality of it, is its illegal, and the government does pursue pirates and, at a minimum a lot of it went underground, and its not early so open - and therefore not nearly so easy to pirate.

    But this isn't about american software, is it. This is about Russian movies, and let me tell you the piracy of Russian movies on YouTube is EXTENSIVE.

    Those are copyrighted movies, tv shows, cartoons, and not all soviet era - the most modern of shows, being copied and distributed on YouTube, every single day.

    Well the copyright owners need to crack down on it, and stay on top of it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Copyright in the Developing World

    Vast majority of formerly Soviet Bloc countries, as well as pretty much all of the developing world has absolutely no clue what copyright violation actually means

    Well, I'd argue a lot of people in the western world needs to be clued in as well. How many people do you have to hear say "I'm not stealing, since I'm just copying bits!" before you realize that.

    And I love how you've basically stated that the Arts have basically collapsed in the former soviet blocs because they're all just copying now. Even if it were true (and I don't believe it), it couldn't be due to something as silly as that, prior to the Soviet Union collapsing, the Arts were mainly funded by the government, who saw the various disciplines as being an important part of a society? Where, now, musicians, producers, etc, actually have to find people willing to invest in their project, so that winnows out a lot of the c*** from the field?

    And you can't tell me there's no production companies or the like willing to invest in movies in Russia. I'm sure they can make crappy movies for far less than they can be made in the US or Canada. Or doesn't that count, because that's what you call the 'sponsorship'?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In Soviet Russia

    iTunes pirate you!

  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Run, you idiots, hide!

    "we'll explain to them that they are wrong."

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Apple 12-inch Retina MacBook

It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. ...

JBL Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones

All headphones are not created equally, especially when it comes to use during vigorous activities or workouts. Over-the-ear headphone ...

Bracketron Power Flex external battery

When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a ...


Most Commented