Russian Citizen Sued By Columbia for Film Piracy Might Avoid Punishment

The defendant insists that Columbia representatives be summoned to his hearing

A Russian citizen accused of piracy in an unprecedented case has demanded that Columbia Pictures representatives be summoned to his hearing in the republic of Tatarstan. Meanwhile, the fact that the studio is suing him not directly but through the Russian Anti-Piracy Society (RAPO) might allow the defendant to avoid punishment.

The defense lawyer at the process, which recently began in Tatarstan, insisted that Columbia representatives be present in court, the local web site reported. He explained that the fact that the plaintiff isn't directly involved in the hearing, being represented by RAPO instead, might also be a sufficient ground for the case to be dismissed.

In Russia's first case of a major Hollywood studio suing a private individual for online piracy, the defendant is being accused of illegally downloading to his computer over 300 Columbia titles, which he later shared with other users over torrents.

Russian News Service reported that RAPO is demanding $208,700 (11 million rubles) in damages on the part of Columbia, and the defendant is facing up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $57,000 (3 million rubles) on top of damages.

The defendant insisted that the amount of damages based on $683 (36,000 rubles) per title is exaggerated.

The case could create a precedent in Russia where thousands of people use torrents to illegally download movies.

Incidentally, a number of Columbia titles, including Fury and Annie, were recently leaked as a result of a hacker attack on Sony.