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Russian film makers win copyright case in U.S.

The jury reviewed the financial claims of the major Russian film companies Mosfilm, Lenfilm and their U.S. representative company Close-Up and decided they were owed $US 2 MLN 700,000 in damages from video pirates.

“It could have been more or less, because the decision was taken not by a judge but by an 11 jury panel which heard about Mosfilm studio on Monday,” said Michael Sheydin, Close-Up International.
The company which has been ordered to pay-out the compensation “Dom Knigi Sankt-Peterburg”, or Saint Petersburg Publishing House, is well-known in the Russian Brooklyn neighbourhood of Brighton Beach as a major distributor of Russian video and audio products.
The court found the company guilty of intentionally violating copyright law on almost 400 Russian and Soviet films. But their lawyers say the case isn't over yet.
“The jury took the decision based on wrong facts, and we are going to file an appeal,” said Jeff Sanders, Joseph Berov attorney.
However, the ruling as it stands now allows Russian film companies to formally claim copyright duties in the United States.
“Almost three million dollars would be a good signal and lesson for the pirates, it means their business will not always be profitable,” noted Michael Sheydin.
Close-Up International is hoping for a similar victory in Canada where it has filed 22 lawsuits.