22 November 2010
Russian Site Takes Film Theft to a Whole New Level
Movie piracy is nothing new to filmmakers, they wake up one day and discover their films on various documentary streaming sites offering their movies for free. We wrote an article about the phenomenon and how to combat it. But pirated films are usually free and the people who run them make money from advertisements.
Well, it turns out there are people who took it a step further and sells the films that they stole from filmmakers for a ridiculous price of $1, and the nice part - No one can do anything to stop them... as long as they operate in Russia. A filmmaker wrote us an email, to his surprise the movie that he created in blood, sweat and tears for several years while maintaining wholesale of savings and taking loans was sold on MovieBerry a piracy site. Needles to say, the site never contacted him to get permission to sell his film.
MovieBerry is relying on the Russian law, there is no need to ask permission from the copyright owner to sell his creation. Instead, MovieBerry is suppose to pay royalties from the movies they steal to the Russian copyright registration office which in turn suppose to track the filmmakers and pay them. Somehow we find it hard to believe that all 808 documentaries on that site got contacted with their owner and let them know they have a check from the Russian copyright office waiting in their mail box.
Of course there are complaints from filmmakers on MovieBerry, but those guys are smart they manage to hide those complaints in the hidden google pages. How did they do that? Simple, They created fictitious sites recommending them, and wrote in various forums recommendations of the films they hold and the service they provide.
The sad thing is that people who want to support indie filmmakers are asking if that site is legal and they get a misleading answer on sites like Yahoo Answers. Just take a look at the following link, the question that Movieberry themselves wrote "Is it legal?" DOES NOT GET AN ANSWER.
A quick google search indicated that MovieBerry doesn't scam just filmmakers, but their viewers also "Do not and I repeat do not even consider doing business with these lowlifes. I learned the hard way. I stumbled upon movieberry while looking for a hard to find movie and thought the 99 cent one day trial was cool and it seemed so easy to just pick a movie and wait for it to download. Legal and easy right? Wrong. While i did get some very good movies that played well, i was stupid enough to allow them to charge my card for the full month after the day's trial was over. At 39.90 a month it was kind of steep and stupid..." We read thsi post while stumbling upon many complaints about MovieBerry.
What is most disturbing is that websites like this one, degrading the film market, not only they steal and sell your movie but they charge $1 per sell and rental, if more sites like MovieBerry will show up, it will be hard to maintain an already low price indie filmmakers charge for rentals and downloads.
Warn you fellow filmmakers, look at the 808 documentries there, you might find out that your movie is being sold for $1 in all possible formats - iPhone, iPad, DVD and VOD.
We didn't add a link to thier site, since we don't want to participate in boosting Movieberry.