Russian couple charged $1.1bn in movie piracy case

A Moscow couple has been charged with distributing pirated movies over the Internet, contributing to estimated losses of $1.08 billion for studios and content owners.

The charges, following a lengthy investigation, mark Russia’s first major Internet anti-piracy case focused on films.

Russia’s deputy prosecutor general said the couple, working under the pseudonyms Ripper, Shturman, Nadezhda and Piratka, distributed the movies over the Internet with the help of an accomplice in Germany, known as ‘Apple’, through the interfilm.ru file-sharing site. Access to Interfilm.ru was blocked in Holland in 2009 at the request of Russia’s interior ministry, Interfax reported.

The couple allegedly distributed more than 30 films, including “Shrek 3” and “28 Weeks Later,” between April 2007 and September 2008.

Moscow is seeking an agreement this year on entering the WTO. Intellectual property rights were one of the key issues with US negotiators.

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