We reported earlier this week on film industry body the MPAA’s latest list of ‘notorious’ piracy sites, but we have to confess to having missed the RIAA’s own submission, which was sent to the US Trade Representative’s office last week. The document trains its fire on one target in particular: Russian social network VKontakte. The RIAA filing claims that VKontakte’s music features are “specifically designed to enable members to upload music and video files, hundreds of thousands of which contain unlicensed copyright works”, suggesting that VKontakte has signed up its 120 million users on the promise of “free access to unlicensed material”. Also highlighted are Chinese service Sogou MP3, which provides curated charts of links to unlicensed music, and online storage service MegaUpload. “What’s particularly offensive about some of these companies is that they intentionally launch music services without any form of licensing as a cynical ploy to gain market share and make more money on the back of artists, labels, songwriters and everyone else involved in the music community,” says RIAA exec Neil Turkewitz. “Some of the firms we’ve highlighted have even announced plans to launch U.S.-based IPOs.”
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