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Copyright Policy

Provenance of movies on Russian Film Hub

Russian Film Hub serves as an encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet cinema. The primary value add of Russian Film Hub is making exploring Russian and Soviet movies as easy and accessible as possible for non-Russian speakers. One way we help Russian film enthusiasts is helping them find reputable streaming platforms where Russian movies are available to watch. As such, we link to a number of movies on streaming platforms like YouTube, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, and Vimeo. The vast majority of movies that Russian Film Hub links to consists of content from Russian film studios and distributors like Mosfilm, Lenfilm, Gorkyfilm, and Central Partnership – the copyright holders.

Generally when these copyright holders upload videos to the streaming websites we link to, they enter into a royalty-free licensing agreement that grants public usage rights. That’s how Russian Film Hub is able to get access to such a large, high quality film catalog that available to watch – mostly for free.

Although the owners of these videos relinquish certain rights by using the streaming platform, like YouTube, Tubi, and Amazon, they do still hold a number of rights that Russian Film Hub fully respects and complies with. These copyright holders retain all economic and moral rights to their videos.

  • Economic rights: the copyright holders retain the right to sell their films; meanwhile, Russian Film Hub does not sell the right to access their films.
  • Moral rights: the copyright holders receive authorship credit and full integrity of their content (no editing or changes by us at all). Russian Film Hub makes it abundantly clear where these movies are streaming – always on reputable, DMCA-compliant platforms.

Russian Film Hub’s legal position

The video content you see on Russian Film Hub is always hosted by one of these third-party websites: YouTube, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Vimeo, and Apple iTunes.

As such, Russian Film Hub is not an online service provider as defined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We do not provide legal copyright owners or non-copyright holders with the ability to publish on the internet by uploading, storing, and displaying various media utilizing our services. And to be absolutely clear, we do not host any video content on our own servers.

As such, in the unlikely event that you believe infringing material appears on this website, your best bet for taking down the content is to contact the following video hosts here: YouTube, Tubi, Amazon, Vimeo. If you notify us in writing on our Contact page, we will ensure that content is not on our website and will gladly work with you to help enforce your copyright.

If you are a copyright holder from the former Soviet Union and would like any help enforcing your copyright in the US, we are glad to help you navigate US copyright.

Please note – we want to make absolutely clear that we have zero connection to another Russian movie-related website, Soviet Movies Online. Soviet Movies Online is a pirate website that flagrantly ignores international copyright laws. Although Soviet Movies Online is frequently targeted with DMCA takedown requests by copyright holders, they still manage to host illegal video content through hosting on Vimeo, Dropbox, and their own servers. We condemn their abuse of international copyright laws as well as their hosting enablers.

Why are Russian movies so often free to watch online?

There are three main reasons so many Russian movies are free to watch online: public domain status, the legacy of Soviet copyright mores, and rampant illegal streaming in Russia today.

  • Public Domain status: Russian law, as read in Part Four of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation from December 2006 and in the Law of the Russian Federation of July 9, 1993 No. 5351-1 “On Copyright and Related Rights,” concludes that copyright terminates 70 years from the date of lawful publication of the film work. Based on this, films released over 70 years ago (pre-1950) are now considered to have entered the Public Domain.
  • Legacy of Soviet copyright: originally, much like how film produced by the US government is automatically public domain content, during the Soviet Union, films created by Soviet film studios were automatically owned by the public – the Soviet people. However, according to the Civil Code of the RSFSR in 1964, a film shot with state money  in the RSFSR belongs to the studio that shot it. Because of that, movies produced by Russian film studios since 1964 are copyright. The same is not true, however, for films created in other Soviet Republics. Many Russians, however, disagree with Soviet movies being privatized and there are often government discussions to return all Soviet movies into the public domain. Today, that means that the studios are left in a unique position. While they own the copyright to their film catalogs, they would meet public uproar if they tried to fully monetize them in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Partly because of this, they upload these movies free-to-view online and largely make money off ad revenue.
  • Illegal streaming in Russia today: it’s no secret that Russians can easily watch most any movie – new or old – on their main social networks, VK.com and OK.ru. That they can do this puts pressure on legacy and new Russian film studios to place their content free-of-charge online (and make money off ads).

Why does Russian Film Hub exist?

Russian Film Hub exists because, despite Russian and Soviet cinema being so unusually available online, it is also highly inaccessible to non-Russian speakers. By cataloging and organizing these films and sharing versions with subtitles in English and other languages, Russian Film Hub empowers people around the world to find, watch, and enjoy Russian movies to the max. As such, we try to be the crucial interlocutor the non-Russian speaking world needs in this historically important part of world cinema.