Putin made his remarks in a meeting concerning growth of the movie industry in Russia, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.
"Without defending intellectual rights, a great damage will be done," Putin said.
"Only enthusiasts will stay. Others will leave (Russia) to make movies where their rights are protected," he said.
Putin, who called for the industry to produce more films about patriotism, said the government's financial support of the film industry had grown from $16.9 million in 2000 to $211 million in 2013.