Russia gets tougher on pirates

MOSCOW — Russia’s willingness to combat piracy appears to be assuming higher priority on government agendas, with a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomydrin and Jack Valenti, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Assn., who is visiting Moscow’s for the city’s 20th Intl. Film Festival, scheduled for today.

Valenti will meet Chernomydrin in the company of Sergei Solovyov, fest director and chairman of the Russian Filmmaker’s Union, and Armen Medvedev, chairman of Goskino (the Russian State Committee on Cinematography).

Valenti’s visit also marks the official launching of a new body, the Russian Anti-Piracy Organization (RAPO), which unites forces from the fields of TV and film in the fight against piracy. Russia is currently the largest market in the world for piracy of U.S. Films, with annual losses estimated at approximately $600 million.

Both Russian and U.S. sides have endorsed a joint government-industry action plan on copyright enforcement, which proposes light partnership between the two sides in the struggle against copyright-beakers.

Valenti will attend a full-day roundtable conference assembling government legislators and film figures on piracy on Wednesday, as well as deliver a Guest Lecture Master Class to young Russian helmers and producers Thursday.

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