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Warner settles with vKontakte

By | Published on Monday 11 April 2016


Warner Music and Russian social network vKontakte have reached an out of court settlement which brings to an end a long running legal battle between the two companies. It means only Universal is now suing the social media firm.

As previously reported, both local and international music companies have accused vKontakte of deliberately turning a blind eye to the rampant copyright infringement that occurs on its networks. vKontakte, meanwhile, insists that it has measures in place to combat piracy on its platform, while frequently talking about becoming a legit streaming music service provider.

Various music companies have sued on this issue, with mixed success in court. Though legal action pursued by the global music majors has been arguably the least successful, with the Russian courts firstly saying that the record companies were not due damages for past infringement on the vKontakte network, and then more recently withdrawing demands judges had previously made regarding the social media firm ramping up anti-piracy measures.

Sony Music actually announced a non-descript ‘goodwill agreement’ with vKontakte last summer, but Warner and Universal continued with their litigation. And when the most recent ruling went against the record companies, trade group the IFPI said both majors intended to appeal.

Warner is now dropping out of the litigation as a result of the new agreement with vKontakte, which will see the social network offer a licensed streaming music package via a deal with Russian company United Media Agency, which Warner is in turn licensing.

Confirming the deal, vKontakte boss Boris Dobrodeev told reporter: “VK continues to move towards cooperation with record companies and other rights holders. This agreement is another important milestone in this direction, and both music fans and rights holders will benefit”.

Meanwhile, Warner Music Russia CEO Alexander Blinov added: “We believe there is huge potential to grow our business in Russia, and further invest in local talent, when artists and rights holders are compensated fairly. These arrangements represent a significant step on the journey to a properly functioning market”.