Big news in Russia this morning, where the music-sharing features of local social network vKontakte have long been a bugbear for rightsholders. The company has been found liable for copyright infringement in a case brought by music companies SBA Publishing and SBA Production. With 110m registered users and 33m daily active users, the easy availability of music on vKontakte has been seen as a big barrier to legal music sales. According to CMU, the commercial court in St Petersburg ruled against the social network, ordering it to pay 210,000 Roubles (ahem, around $6,950). It’s the significance of the ruling itself that matters more than the fine, though. “Russia is a market with the potential to develop a thriving legitimate music market, but this prospect is currently being undermined by unlicensed services such as vKontakte,” says IFPI boss Frances Moore. The question now is whether vKontakte will go down the Baidu route, following the Chinese search engine’s path to legit licensing deals with rightsholders.

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