Russian Rights Holders File First-Ever Collective Lawsuit Against Online Video Service

The move is expected to create a new precedent in fighting piracy.

MOSCOW -- Several leading Russian movie and TV companies have filed the first ever collective lawsuit against an online video service, in a move expected to create a precedent in fighting online piracy.

Direktsiya Kino, the movie production wing of the country's biggest TV network Channel One; major film company STV and TV series producers Amedia and Star Media are suing the online video service, accusing it of unauthorized use of content to which they own copyright.

They claim that the video service illegally offered several dozen popular TV series and movies to its users.

The move comes amidst the Russian government's efforts to curb online piracy, and the fact that producers have begun to join forces in protecting their copyrighted materials is intended to send a strong warning signal to online pirates.

Last summer, a set of amendments to the country's copyright law was adopted, introducing an easier procedure for blocking web sites containing allegedly copyrighted material at a rights holder's request.

Several pirate web sites have been shut down since then, but many are still in operation.