MOSCOW, May 16 (RAPSI) – Universal Music Russia filed a cassation appeal against a court ruling in a dispute with Russia's top social network VKontakte over distribution of music, according to the courts’ official database.
On March 17, the Thirteenth Commercial Court of Appeals recognized VKontakte, known as VK, as honest information intermediary. The claim by Universal Music Russia therefore was rejected. Moreover, the court in March dismissed a similar claim lodged by Warner Music UK against VKontakte.
As reported earlier, the recording companies demanded removal of pirated music and 31 million rubles ($477,400) in damages from the social network.
The lawsuits provided the list of performers on whose behalf the music companies had filed a petition to delete the pirated files.
On July 27, 2015, the Commercial Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region approved an out-of-court agreement between Sony Music Russia and VK worth 15.6 million rubles ($240,300).
Sony Music reportedly became the first large foreign company with which VK has found common ground. Having settled their dispute, Sony Music and VKontakte have agreed to legalize music that is streamed by the social network.
Sony Music has signed a contract to this effect, but not with VKontakte or its main shareholder, Mail.ru Group. It signed the contract with Oleg Butenko’s United Music Agency (UMA). Butenko is the former director of MegaLabs, a MegaFon subsidiary, which is controlled by Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holding. USM Holding also controls Mail.ru Group.
As previously reported, VKontakte would gradually modernize its music service by introducing commercial services. Music services for smartphones will be accessible for a fee, while music streamed via computers will be available for free but will include commercials.
Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music sued VKontakte in the spring of 2014 claiming that it streamed pirated music and demanded the removal of the infringing music and 50 million rubles ($770,000) in damages.