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vKontakte ordered to beef up its takedown system

By | Published on Tuesday 29 September 2015


A Russian court yesterday ordered social network vKontakte to improve its takedown system, to prevent music from Universal Music and Warner Music being shared on its servers.

As previously reported, all three majors launched separate legal actions against vKontakte through the Saint Petersburg & Leningradsky Region Arbitration Court last year. The record labels asked the court to order the social media firm to remove some specific content from its networks, to put in place more robust anti-piracy measures, and to pay damages for past infringement.

In July, Sony Music reached a ‘goodwill agreement’ with the social network, resulting in its lawsuit being withdrawn. But the other two major labels forged ahead and are now celebrating a win in their legal proceedings.

According to a statement from the IFPI, a judge yesterday gave an “oral decision” that vKontakte must implement “effective technology” to takedown infringing content owned by the companies and prevent it from being re-uploaded. Full written judgements are expected in due course.

IFPI CEO Frances Moore said of the ruling: “This is a very important and positive decision for the Russian music market and for music creators in Russia. VK’s infringing music service has been a huge obstacle to the development of a licensed business in Russia, making available hundreds of thousands of copyright infringing tracks to more than 70 million daily users. Now, the Russian court has ordered VK to use technology to stop infringements. This is good news for rights holders in Russia. We now look to VK to implement the court’s decision and stop these on going infringements”.

vKontakte has in the past indicated plans to more effectively police infringing material on its site, and to license a legit music service, though most labels would likely say that the firm has, to date, only paid lip service to its copyright commitments. It remains to be seen if this court ruling changes anything.