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Russian Court Acquits vKontakte of Copyright Infringement against Warner and Universal
October 7, 2015
Amanda Marie
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In what’s considered to be a rather surprising decision, a St. Petersburg court has ruled against Universal Music Russia and Warner Music UK in their copyright lawsuit against vKontakte. The court found VK not guilty of massive copyright infringement.

In dismissing the legal proceedings, the court claimed that VK as a responsible intermediary did not engage in the sale of music, nor did they receive any revenue related to the sale of any music.

As noted in a press release, the court concluded that vKontakte was "not aware and could not reasonably have known about the illegal use of recordings on the site prior to the claims being made." The music companies failed to provide proof of ownership of the rights, and also failed to identify the copyright breaches.

Following the decision, Boris Dobrodeev, CEO of vKontakte, stated, "We are pleased that the court has ruled in our favour and are satisfied with the content of today's legal reasoning. The court's findings confirm the lack of basis of the applicants' claims and back up our position that we have taken throughout the case. We will continue to establish constructive dialogue with the record companies and look to agree mutually beneficial terms for co-operation. With regard to the system to prevent the repeated uploading of deleted content, VKontakte has already developed and implemented a digital fingerprint system. The technology is in operation and we continue to improve it on an ongoing basis."

The court upheld a previous decision in which VK was ordered to improve its existing technology to prevent copyright infringement. As stated by Dobrodeev, VK has already adopted the necessary fingerprint technology which is being used on the site’s network to assist in the identification of, and the blocking of unauthorized copyright material.

As we previously reported, the music labels were seeking compensation of just over RUB 50 million (US $1.4 million) for the infringing content.

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