ST PETERSBURG, Russia, Oct. 7, 2015 /CNW/ - A St Petersburg court has today published its reasoning in dismissing legal proceedings initiated by Universal Music Russia and Warner Music UK against VKontakte in April 2014. Along with Sony Music Russia, the companies submitted separate claims to the Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, demanding that the court uphold their exclusive rights to music recordings and pay compensation for damages incurred. Their total claims amounted to 51 million roubles. VKontakte and Sony Music Russia agreed a confidential global settlement in July 2015.
The court's legal reasoning affirmed VKontakte's status as a responsible information intermediary that is not engaged in the sale of music and does not receive any revenue from such action. The court acknowledged the range of preventative measures implemented by the company to protect rights holders and noted the company's acoustic fingerprint technology that prevents users from uploading content that has already been deleted from the site. Furthermore, the court added that the claimants' did not make reasonable efforts to prevent copyright infringements as they did not engage sufficiently with VKontakte before filing their claims.
An important conclusion reached by the court was 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 claimants not only failed to provide proof of ownership of the rights, but also failed to identify the copyright breaches.
The court ordered VKontakte to improve its existing technology to prevent copyright infringement. However, as already stated, VKontakte has by now adopted these measures.
Boris Dobrodeev, CEO of VKontakte, commented: "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."
VKontakte is the largest European social network with more than 300 million registered accounts. More than 70 million users visit the VK website every day.