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First criminal sentence in Russia for illegal online cinema

The blocking of web-resources doesn’t work effectively in the fight with online piracy in Russia. Actually restriction of access in Russia is possible under the court order in relation to certain address, mostly it is domain name. It is also possible to block mirror web-site, i.e. the site almost identical with blocked one, but with different domain name. But it is also is not as effective as right holders desire. Therefore the measures are going to be rigorous.

There was network of online cinemas where different movies were available illegally. The operator of this web-sites network obtained all content from CDN (so called content distribution network, the storehouse of content, alternative to those approved by right holders) Moonwalk.

Each online cinema contained more than ten thousand titles, including new releases, popular movies or serials. The profits were derived from advertisement. The owner of online cinemas was notified of illegal nature of his business. But there was not any response suitable for right holders.

Even if any of web-sites was under restriction of access, the owner promptly opened new web-site and all these blocking were inefficient. One of the right holders has addressed to the enforcement authorities. The last has initiated criminal case under article 146 of Russian criminal code (violation of copyright).

Under this article in order to be considered as victim the person must to incur damages in property. Investigators could find suspected only thanks to his digital traces; he did not have any authentic accounts in social networks or other similar web-sites.

The personality of suspected has been identified after it was collected suitable volume of his digital traces. In spring his has been detained in Moscow area, near the town. He admitted charges from indictment and agreed to cooperate with investigators. But at the court hearing he denied all his previous testimonies and refused to admit his guilty. However the judge decided the operator of pirate online cinemas is guilty in copyright infringement.

The operator has been sentenced to the two years of suspended sentence with three years of probation. It is first case of its kind. The stake holders believe this precedent is very important. Only such harsh measures together with toughening antipiracy law could reduce the quantity of those, who wish to be engaged in business of piracy, the stake holders believe.

But not only online piracy is the problem of right holders. The sale of counterfeited goods in Russia goes to the next level. Currently according to the research the counterfeited goods are also available at the shopping malls. The share of fake could count up to 60% from all goods available for sale.

Mostly the counterfeits include toys for children, accessories for electronic goods, bags. The most interesting thing is that traders openly admit they sell counterfeits, not all but the most of them. Some believe they sell original goods. Sometimes counterfeits are sold near the shops or boutiques selling original goods.

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