Russia rejects state-sponsored movie piracy, upsetting cinemas desperate to show Barbie

Russia isn't getting Western movies anymore, thanks to its invasion of Ukraine, and the local film industry can't take up the slack. Desperate for content, the cinema business there begged the government to legalize showing the movies without the permission of studios and distributors, to no avail. "There appears to be momentum building against the idea that piracy of Western content would be good for Russia," writes Andy Maxwell. Instead, official eyes appear to be on boosting local filmmakers and the prospect of improved post-war relations with Western media companies.

Among those in favor of state-sanctioned piracy of Western content is Alexei Sinitsyn, the First Deputy Head of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy. …

Cinema Fund (Фонд Кино) is a body through which the Russian government funds movies and TV shows that benefit the state. The official line is that Cinema Fund supports local filmmaking and "provides conditions" for creating high-quality films "that meet national interests." 

Interestingly, Cinema Fund's position on Sinitsyn's failing piracy plan, outlined in a letter seen by Izvestia, suggests that overt piracy of Western movies isn't viewed as acceptable.

"The implementation of any mechanisms for legalizing the display of audiovisual content without the consent of the copyright holders ('piracy') creates additional legal and reputational risks, [and] currently seems inappropriate," writes Cinema Fund Executive Director, Fedor Sosnov.

Former Russian premier and Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev said consumers should just pirate it at home if they want to: "You know what? Find suitable pirated films and download them."