Russian Social Network vKontakte Held Liable For Copyright Infringement A Second Time

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By Daria Kim for Intellectual Property Watch

This week, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningradskaya Oblast announced a decision holding vKontakte, the Russian largest social network, liable for copyright infringement. This is the second case between the parties in which the court sided with the right holder following a decision earlier this year.

Related Intellectual Property Watch story here.

The complaint was brought by Gala Records alleging that vKontakte, whose applications enable users to upload music and video files as well as stream and download them, infringed Gala Record’s rights by making available 11 songs from its repertoire by a Russian singer MakSim without authorisation. The fine ordered by the court amounts to 550,000 rubles (approximately US$ 17,800).

The 10 October decision is not officially published yet. As cited in press reports, in its reasoning the court referred to the case law, in particular, the Resolution of the Presidium of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation in the Agava-soft case defining criteria of ISP’s liability. For instance, it cited the “absence of ISP’s actions to stop the user’s copyright infringement within the reasonable time, as well as ISP’s passive reaction to, or demonstrative withdrawal from, the user’s infringement.” (Resolution in Russian here)

Parties to the case are: Gala Records – Russia’s first private sound-recording company and the exclusive distributor of EMI Music, and vKontakte – Russia’s biggest online social network, a Facebook look-alike with over 140 million users registered worldwide, one of the world’s top 50 most visited sites.

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