Russian Appeals Court Says Popular Social Network vKontakte Is Liable For File Sharing By Users

from the third-party-liability dept

The Russian social network site vKontakte is often called "The Facebook of Russia," in large part because it looks a lot like Facebook. It's incredibly popular across the Russian-speaking region (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, etc.). However, for years, the entertainment industry has argued that the main reason it's so popular is because it has a built in file sharing feature, which is regularly used for the unauthorized sharing of music files. It's no secret that plenty of unauthorized music gets shared this way -- and we've even seen other file sharing platforms (even those targeted outside of Russian-speaking countries) built on top of vKontakte's system. A court had ruled that the site was liable earlier this year, and now an appeals court has backed that up. The full details aren't entirely clear, as most of the information so far comes from a gloating press release from IFPI. If there are specific activities that vKontakte does to encourage unauthorized sharing that's one thing, but merely having a feature that allows individuals to share files seems like a perfectly legitimate feature. The fact that it's widely used to infringe shouldn't put the blame on the service provider automatically. It would be great to see more details of the ruling to understand the thinking.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Alana (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 8:30pm

    ...My brain just broke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    izzitme101, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:55pm

    Well you are entitled to a new one i think, off you go to download it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:57pm

    Is the IFPI working for the KGB? That would explain a lot.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:05pm

    Re:

    Everyone works for the KGB, whether they know it or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re:

    I think you might wanna loosen the tinfoil hat, buddy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:45pm

    Re: Is the IFPI working for the KGB?

    That’s “FSB”, Мразь.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:53pm

    is it a feature like file sharing with Instant Messenger?

     

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  8.  
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    Planespotter (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 12:57am

    Re:

    I'd imagine so, or like email where you can send stuff as "attachments"!

    I suggest the legacy parts of the entertainment industry set their targets higher and just accuse "The Internet" of facilitating infrringment and get a Judge to ban it.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 1:27am

    this is just another way for a backwards thinking entertainment industry to extort money. it wont be long before they are making so much money from all of the outside sources they keep blaming for infringement that they wont have to produce anything new or have to join the digital age, their income is gonna be guaranteed from old stuff. wont be much longer before there is nothing in the world's courts other than copyright infringement cases. now the entertainment industries have managed to get life imprisonment as punishment for so heinous a crime, any and every other crime hardly seems worth while committing, does it?

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:12am

    Kudos to the russian courts for getting it right. The system is a social network structured on file sharing, and they clearly grasped the intent and the key functionality of the site.

    This would be a great example for the US courts to look at and understand when it comes to seeing past the safe harbors for "Service providers" who clearly profit from piracy.

     

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  11.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:12am

    Re: Re:

    Oiy, don't suggest things like that, they're stupid enough to actually try it! And you know they'd be able to find a judge clueless enough, or 'compensated' enough to actually try and do so too.

     

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  12.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:28am

    We don't have DMCA-style safe harbor provisions in Russia.
    But we do have landmark ruling, explaining when service provider are liable for users infringement. In this case Vkontakte wasn't found liable for infringement af a matter of fact. But they were sanctioned (for around $6500. Not much huh.) because social network wasn't fast enough after reported infringement. Actually they simply blocked search for artist and songs names (laughably easy to bypass) and haven't removed content.

     

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  13.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:29am

    Re:

    No, you simply can upload music and video and stream it from vk.com

     

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  14.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:31am

    Re:

    Except there are't any decent legal services in Russia.

    And key functionality of VK is messaging and, well, social networking. By far.

     

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  15.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:35am

    Re:

    Just wanted to point.

    Vkontakte wasn't found liable for infringement. IFPI lied

     

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  16.  
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    Niall (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    "In post-Soviet Russia, we support the capitalist pigs over the people!"

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re:

    "key functionality" also seems to include "sending enormous quantities of spam". Not that this matters WRT to the filesharing debate, but it does strongly suggest that VK either doesn't know how to run its operation correctly or it can't be bothered to.

     

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  18.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Twitter also has tons of spam, for example. Your point?
    VK has much smaller team than, lets say, Yandex or Mail.ru. They still are leading social network in ex-USSR despite Facebook efforts.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My point is that intelligently, competently, ethically, responsibly run operations don't send spam on a large-scale and ongoing basis. The size of the team is irrelevant: it only takes one person with clue to deal with the problem.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    >Kudos to the russian courts for getting it right. This would be a great example for the US courts to look at and understand when it comes to seeing past the safe harbors for "Service providers" who clearly profit from piracy.

    This just in. US Appeals Court says popular social network Facebook is liable for filesharing by users.

    Enjoy your backlash.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    VK don't send spam anymore than FB or Twitter.

    There are spammers on VK of course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Right. So Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc etc apparently lack this one person with a clue on how to deal with spam.

     

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  23.  
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    drew (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re:

    In soviet russia, file shares you

     

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  24.  
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    Vic, May 22nd, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Is the IFPI working for the KGB?

    That's a nice touch to write that word with a capital letter... 8^)

     

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  25.  
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    drew (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    I am curious as to exactly what kind of a web and what kind of a content industry you would like to see us left with if all your preferred legislation was passed?
    From where I'm sitting it looks pretty horrific.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re:

    If facebook's main goal was to help users share files (and not to share status updates or stupid duck mouth pictures) they wouldn't be enjoying their (quickly sinking) stock offering. They would instead be looking for work.

    It's all in the way things are made to work.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re:

    No need to be curious. TAM would like to see all user-generated content websites vanish.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re:

    LOL

    Any non pro-piracy posts apparently now get "reported", i.e. censored.

    You people are such worthless, hypocritical douchebags.

    And Russia already has a Facebook-type application: it's called Facebook.

    vKontakte is for piracy, Masnick, and you know it. You're such a lying sociopathic slimeball.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    You see, your comment is quickly going to be reported (again, as I'm sure I explained to you, if it's still viewable, IT IS NOT BEING CENSORED). Why is your comment going to be reported? It's nothing but ad homs, directed at people on this site and Mike. These are the kind of comments that get reported. Ones that DO NOT add anything worthwhile to the discussion. Also, you're acting like a troll. No, not all ACs or people who disagree are trolls. People who come here ONLY to insult others and claim all the people here support piracy... those are the people who get labeled as trolls, the ones doing those things. Namely, people like you.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Reporting mine? Fine, go for it.

    But you asshats reported the comment I replied to, which was nothing but someone expressing their opinion.

    So yeah, sorry, but the world sees you as hypocritical douchebags; along with of course, the rest of the laundry list of accurate invective mockingly spoken if the subject of Techdirt is brought up...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Vic, May 22nd, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Right,

    Mike knows it very well, he is obviously an active user of vKontakte! Heck, he still lives there in Russian Federation, only making us believe that he blogs from California!

    Very detailed answer from you, nice arguments! Name calling is both nonchalant and succinct, nice touch.

    The only problem is with the logic, but hey that's minor. Who needs it, right?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't report the comment you replied to. You see, your problem is everyone either agrees with you or they don't. There's no room for anything else. You can say whatever you want as far as I'm concerned, I won't report it unless it's extremely offensive (even if it is all just ad homs). Stupidity is readily evident, yours more so. Better to let people see such stupidity outright I say, that way they know who to easily dismiss/ignore.

    The world doesn't see myself or anyone here as hypocritical douchebags. That would be only you who sees us that way. Well, you and a handful of others who come here to do what you do. Insult people, present misinformation, etc.

    But what's interesting is if we're all hypocritical douchebags and lying about this and that and ignored and a joke to the rest of the world, why do you keep coming here and posting? Your time is ill spent if that's the case. You could be doing something productive. Me thinks thou doth come here because thou are a loser with too much time on his hands and the only way they can get any joy is by thinking they're able to belittle others in a way that makes these others feel bad. It doesn't. Fyi. If we feel bad for anyone it's for you. Such a sad, pathetic little troll.

    [pats you on head] There there. You can always try again tomorrow to say, "Ha! Gotcha!" You won't. Ever. But you can keep trying if that makes you feel better.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I rarely bother coming here anymore; Masnick is tilting at windmills and nobody here realizes that the glory days of piracy are gone.

    It's similar to when it became acceptable conventional wisdom that Fox News was full of zealots and not to be taken seriously. Same thing happened here; some time in the past couple years this place jumped the shark.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Bergman (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    I wonder...

    How many politicians and judges would support the idea of making a company liable for what its users do, if the idea were extended logically?

    Staffer in the employ of a congress critter illegally copies an image...congress critter gets to pay the statutory damages. Court clerk uses his net access at work to distribute illegal files, judge goes to prison.

    I bet those goofy interpretations of who is liable would go away overnight...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >So yeah, sorry, but the world sees you as hypocritical douchebags

    If that's the way "the world" sees the site, go ahead. Get your IP maximist friends to vote each and every one of your comments insightful. They don't even need to comment or leave a name. There're so many of them out there in "the world" this shouldn't be too hard, right?

    >I rarely bother coming here anymore

    So what stopped you from not bothering this time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sometimes we enjoy rubbing it in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Kirion (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re:

    Do you know how many young russian artists use VK for promotion? Thousands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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