Cablegate: Pirated Disks Still Widely Available in Moscow Markets
RR RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3060/01 2900753
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160753Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0390
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4432
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003060
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, EEB/TPP/IPE
STATE PASS USTR FOR SMCCOY, JGROVES, PBURKHEAD
USDOC 4231 FOR JBROUGHER, MEDWARDS, JTHOMPSON
USDOC PLS PASS WPAUGH, SWILSON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR ECON RS
SUBJECT: PIRATED DISKS STILL WIDELY AVAILABLE IN MOSCOW MARKETS
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR
DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE USG CHANNELS OR FOR POSTING ON THE INTERNET.
1. (SBU) A recent visit by econoffs to two of Moscow's electronics
markets revealed that despite recent progress, Russia still has a
long way to go to reduce the availability of pirated compact disks,
DVDs and software to Russian consumers. Vendors at the
working-class Savelovskiy market openly sell unlicensed optical
disks at steep discounts to licensed material. At the higher-priced
Gorbushka market, sellers are more circumspect, reflecting GOR
efforts, and pirated material is not as obviously displayed. Still,
once the customer starts engaging in the bargaining process, many
Gorbushka vendors offer unlicensed disks as a cheaper alternative to
licensed products. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) On October 9, Embassy IPR attache and economic officers
visited two of Moscow's main electronics markets, Savelovskiy and
Gorbushka, to assess how widely available pirated optical disks are
to the Russian consumer.
SAVELOVSKIY: CORNUCOPIA OF PIRATED DISKS
3. (U) The Savelovskiy Market in Moscow is adjacent to a major Metro
station and one of Moscow's main train stations. The large
electronics section consists of dozens of small shops offering cheap
(by Moscow standards) prices for mobile phones, TVs, still and video
cameras, stereo equipment and optical disks. The market seemed
relatively busy (we visited on a Thursday) with a fair amount of
foot traffic and customers interested in acquiring cell phones,
video games and DVDs.
4. (SBU) At a kiosk near the Metro station and at some shops within
the market itself, vendors were offering "quality version"
unlicensed DVDs of recent Western films such as Iron Man, Wanted,
Righteous Kill, Hancock, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and the
Russian film New Earth, for 100-150 rubles ($3.80-$5.75 dollars).
(N.B. Licensed copies of these movies are widely available in Moscow
for 200-300 rubles, or $7.65-$11.50 dollars.) In addition to the
price difference, the disks were not stamped with the required
license number in the center ring, indicating that they were most
likely unlicensed copies.
5. (SBU) Aside from pirated DVDs, we also saw unlicensed software,
apparently counterfeit music players, and disks containing personal
identity data that was likely misappropriated from the Russian
Government. Some software vendors were offering what appeared to be
homemade copies of the latest versions of Quark Xpress and Photoshop
for 200 rubles (about $7.65), while copies of Windows Vista were
available for 150 rubles ($5.75).
6. (SBU) One electronics shop was selling an MP3 music player call
an "APod" that looked very similar to an Apple iPod Shuffle. When
we asked whether this was an iPod, the salesman said the APod was a
"counterfeit from China." One small shop was selling disks
containing Russian passport data ("millions of entries" according to
the sign) for 1,000 rubles ($38), customs data for 3,500 rubles
($134), and a disk containing cell phone numbers from MTS, one of
Russia's three major cell phone providers.
GORBUSHKA: HIGHER PRICES, SUBTLER SALES PITCH
7. (U) The Gorbushka Market in Western Moscow is a vast, high-end
electronics and consumer durables shopping mall that caters to
well-off Muscovites and expats. Prices for both licensed and
unlicensed disks are higher than at the Savelovskiy Market. In a
reflection of recent GOR anti-piracy efforts, a recorded
announcement from the shopping mall's loudspeaker reminded customers
that licensed DVDs and CDs provide a guarantee of quality.
8. (SBU) However, while pirated DVDs are less obviously displayed at
Gorbushka than at Savelovskiy, vendors will offer up their
unlicensed material at a discount to legitimate DVDs. For instance,
some shops were selling the licensed version of Season One of Dexter
(the Showtime TV Series) for 800 rubles ($31), while selling the
unlicensed "high quality" version for 500-600 rubles ($19-$23).
Most stores were offering legitimate DVDs of Iron Man and Righteous
MOSCOW 00003060 002 OF 002
Kill for 350-400 rubles ($13.40-$15.30), and the unlicensed "high
quality" version for 200-250 rubles ($7.65-9.55). Unlicensed copies
of Disney movies the Little Mermaid and Enchanted were also selling
for 200 rubles ($7.65).
9. (SBU) One vendor in the mall had a "sales bin" containing various
DVDs for only 30 rubles each ($1.15), including the 2007 Russian
blockbluster "1612." A street vendor near the Metro Station was
selling DVD collections of Russian classic films and of Western
children's movies such as the Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo for
120 rubles ($4.60), and the new Disney Fairies movie for 200 rubles
($7.65). The street seller said that some vendors would have "low
quality" copies of the latest Russian epic film Admiral by October
10 (the day after it opened in Russian cinemas), while a "higher
quality" version would be available in a week.
10. (SBU) Pirated software was also not hard to find. A computer
software vendor was selling an unlicensed copy of Apple's
sophisticated movie editing software Final Cut Express for 1,000
11. (SBU) Our field trip to the Savelovskiy and Gorbushka markets
shows that despite stepped-up GOR efforts, pirated optical disks are
still widely available in Moscow to both working class and more
well-off consumers. Getting the authorities to take the problem of
optical disk piracy more seriously will probably depend on making a
convincing case that it is having a significant economic impact on
Russia's film, TV, software and recording industries. While pirated
versions of Western films, children's movies and TV series are
obviously popular with Russians, it is noteworthy that Russian films
are also being pirated. In our on-going engagement with GOR
officials, we will continue to emphasize that Russian artists and
producers, as well as foreigners, will benefit from enhanced
enforcement of Russia's intellectual property laws.