Apple has been found selling Russian movies on iTunes that it has not got the copyright on.

The downloadable iTunes films in question are in contravention of copyright laws, according to the BBC.

Apple is selling the Soviet-era movies as iPhone apps without the consent of the filmmakers, the original copyright holders.

Apple brand damage

"This example shows how hard it is for consumers to know whether they are dealing with reputable distributors,"Michael Forrester, a solicitor from Ralli Solicitors LLP, explained to TechRadar.

"Apple runs the risk of their brand being damaged by a tiny proportion of film distributors who allegedly have no regard for the rules. We have sufficient international treaties to enforce the complex copyright rules, but the complicated film and music transactions sometimes make the sector less than transparent."

Movies that were made available to download via iTunes include Gentlemen of Fortune, Assa, The Diamond Arm, Kin-dza-dza and Cheburashka.

Apple investigates rogue devs

Mosfilm – the original owners of the copyright on the films – and the Joint State Film Collection (Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinocollectsia) claim to have not agreed to allow Apple to sell their movies on the app store.

"It is illegal to present our films as applications either in iTunes or on any other internet site. It is permitted only on our own Mosfilm site", Svetlana Pyleva, Mosfilm's deputy director-general, told BBC News.

"The only official internet site where you can watch legal Mosfilm content is the Mosfilm site. There are no third parties which we have permitted to use our content."

Ms Pyleva added that Mosfilm had contacted Apple to raise the issue, and is hoping that "Apple will take appropriate measures and help us solve the problem".

Apple is currently investigating the claims of copyright theft.

Via BBC News