Piracy on-line movie streaming services (cinemas) in Russia not infrequently release video content obtained from unauthorized piracy content distribution networks (piracy CDN). Such underground cinemas gain profit from advertising, mostly by illegal gambling operators.
Group-IB, a company engaged in the detection and prevention of online fraud, including infringement of copyright, uncovered in 2018 a wide network of pirate cinemas in Russia, each containing more than 10 thousand titles, including recent releases of popular movies and series. Group-IB initiated criminal proceeding against the owner of the service, who had not stopped piracy streaming after receiving cease-and-desist letters from Group-IB. Besides, when the websites releasing pirated content were blocked, mirror sites were created instead.
Group-IB told the press that it was not easy to track the real person behind the pirate streaming sites. First, they traced digital footprints of the owner of service and only then were able to identify the person. The latter was arrested in the spring of 2019. In December 2019 a court convicted the offender and passed a sentence of 2 year suspended imprisonment, with a 3 year probation period instead of actual imprisonment, on grounds of cooperation.
This is the first case in Russia of indictment and sentencing of the owner of piracy content services.
Statistics released by Group-IB shows decrease of internet-piracy in Russia, due to the disappearance of the three main piracy CDNs, which provided 90% of content, as well as the improvement of Russian legislation and the effects of the Counter-piracy Memorandum of Russian media and Internet companies signed in November 2018 (see article published on Lexology on October 10, 2019 “Counter-piracy Memorandum of Russian media and Internet companies is extended awaiting amendments to Law On Information, information technologies and information protection” https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f7f8e083-479e-44da-80b8-9868a86fc8fb ). It is expected that the prospect of criminal liability will further decrease the appeal of piracy as a business.