Russia's Leading Social Network VKontakte Cleared Of Copyright Infringement
from the surprising,-but-maybe-irrelevant dept
VKontakte is not only the largest social networking site in Russia, but is also one of the biggest unauthorized repositories of copyright music, thanks to its file-hosting service. Given the moves to clamp down on copyright infringement in Russia, it seemed only a matter of time before VKontakte found itself in hot water because of this. And yet, as Torrent Freak reports, something unexpected has happened:
Russia's largest social network has been cleared of copyright infringement charges by a court in St. Petersburg. A lawsuit brought by a famous local records label alleged that VKontakte should be held liable for music piracy carried out by its users. However a judge ruled that there was no way the site could monitor all user uploads for infringement and in any event, no operator of Vkontakte had anything to do with the downloading, recording, and dissemination of any infringing content.
This is, of course, an eminently sensible ruling, because it is indeed impossible for VKontakte to check every upload for possible infringement, not least because copyright law is so complex that only courts are competent to make that call. However, it looks like unauthorized uploads may be going away anyway:
Earlier this year the site's founder said that talks were underway with Universal, Warner and Sony with a view to making their content available to the site's users as part of a licensing deal.
It seems inevitable that part of that deal would be the elimination of all those unofficial copies. VKontakte's recent court win will at least strengthen its negotiating position when it comes to arguing over the details.