by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 21st 2012 7:31pm
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.
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