BBC is reporting that Russian films are being made available through Apple's iTunes service without the consent of the copyright holders. The popular films, dating from the Soviet era, are being made available to download as smartphone apps.
Films available via iTunes include old favourites such as Gentlemen of Fortune, Assa, The Diamond Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka. Despite their age, the films and cartoons are still protected by copyright.
The owners of the copyright on the films, - Russian film studio Mosfilm and the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia) - have told the BBC they haven't given consent for their films to be sold in the app stores.
"It's illegal to present our films as applications either in iTunes or on any other internet site. It's permitted only on our own Mosfilm site", Svetlana Pyleva, Mosfilm's deputy director-general, said in an interview with bbcrussian.com.
"Maybe Apple will take appropriate measures and help us solve the problem," she said.
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.
"Of course, I don't have any license agreement", he said. "This's all very simple. The companies, who can have complaints, submit them to Apple and Apple notifies me that they've to withdraw the app".
Mr Penshin confirmed to bbcrussian.com that he deliberately decided to offer unlicensed material for sale to gain profit.
Mr Penshin has also created and offered for sale an app based around the animated series "Penguins of Madagascar" produced by US studio Dreamworks.
"I realise that this's wrong," he said. "Maybe I am breaking the law."
[tags]russia,films,russian films,animated films[/tags]