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vKontakte confident it can work with major labels, despite legal showdown

By | Published on Thursday 15 October 2015


vKontakte CEO Boris Dobrodeyev has said that the Russian social network is confident that it can turn round its reputation within the music industry. This follows a ruling in its copyright infringement legal battle with Universal Music and Warner Music, on which both the majors and the website are claiming victory.

“We see the judgment as a certain victory for us”, Dobrodeyev reiterated to Billboard. “The court completely agreed with our arguments, and, which is important for us, it deemed us to be an ‘intermediary in good faith’. We don’t view [an order to implement a takedown system] as a defeat, because we’re already using an instrument of that kind, and we have planned to develop that technology, the ‘digital fingerprint’, and improve its efficiency”.

Meanwhile a new version of the social media site will provide a new source of revenue for rights holders, he goes on. “We are working on an ad-based model, bringing substantial revenues to the rights holders. And we are currently testing a digital footprint technology for video with two large Hollywood studios. As long as the test is successful, we’ll be able to talk about agreements with majors for video content, as well”.

“We believe that at this point the market is under-monetised”, he added. “We have all the necessary recipes for success, we have a userbase, we have a music service, and I am sure that in partnership with the majors, we’ll be able to build an optimal service for users and a viable and profitable business”.

While that might all seem overly confident, given record industry trade group IFPI is still very down on the social networking firm, it is important to remember that Sony Music pulled its lawsuit against vKontakte earlier this year after reaching a “goodwill agreement” with the company. And any opportunity to get some sort of revenue out of Russia is probably worth pursuing at this stage.