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Apple approves iTunes films that break copyright

David Ludlow
1 Feb 2011
Apple approves iTunes films that break copyright
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Has Apps of Russian films for download

A series of popular Russian films made during the Soviet era have been made available for downloaded through iTunes without the copyright-holder's permissions.

Each of the films has been turned into an App, available for download on Apple devices including the iPod Touch, iPhone 4 and iPad.

The list of films includes classic titles, such as Gentlement of Fortune, Assa, The Diamon Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka. Although they were mostly made in the 60s and 70s, the films remain under copyright and no permission has been given by the owners of the films (Mosfilm and the Joint State Film Collection) for the works to be distributed.

"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," said Svetlana Pyleva, Mosfilm's deputy director general, to the BBC.

As the films are available as Apps, it means that Apple has had to manually approve them for sale, as it does for all Apps entered for sale. Apple has responded by saying that it will look into the issue.

In a rare strike for honesty, Vladimir Penshin, the creator of the Apps told BBC's Russian Service that he knew he was breaking the law and that "Of course, I do not have any licence agreement".

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