MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – Outrunning the mainstream film industry on copyright protection, a Russian distributor of art-house movies filed the first lawsuit under a new controversial anti-piracy law Thursday morning.
Kino Bez Granits (Cinema Without Borders) asked the Moscow City Court to take down five movies from the distributor’s catalog uploaded on the social network VK.com, company head Sam Klebanov told RIA Novosti.
The list included recent feature films by Takeshi Kitano, Jon Kasdan, Steve McQueen and David Cronenberg, as well as the documentary “Oceans” by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud.
Court officials said Kino Bez Granits was the first to request that content be blocked under the new law, Klebanov said, adding that his company planned to file more complaints in the future.
The lawsuit was rejected later the same day because the company had failed to prove it had copyrights for the films, but the suit can be refiled, a court spokeswoman told RIA Novosti.
The new law against film piracy came into force in Russia on Thursday despite outcry from the internet industry. It allows copyright holders to request the court to block contested content before ruling on its legality, without requiring them to try to contact the uploader before going to court.
The bill has been compared to SOPA ("Stop Online Piracy Act"), a draconian piece of copyright-protecting legislation stalled in the US Congress since 2012 after mass protests from the internet industry and web users.
VK.com made no comment as of Thursday morning. The social network, Russia’s most popular with a daily audience of 46 million, has long been accused of exploiting pirated content, though it also runs its own service for copyright holders to report pirated material.
(Updates with court reaction.)