Russian social network vKontakte’s latest day in court came with two lawsuits from local labels over unlicensed uploads of their music by users. The Russian appeals court ruled that VK must pay 750k rubles (around $11.6k) to a label called Nikitn, and a further 600k rubles ($9.3k) to another label called Soyuz. “The sum of damages may not look significant, but it is important as an instrument for fighting illegal distribution of content,” Nikitin’s lawyer told Billboard following the verdict.
As has now become customary, VK is claiming its own victory of sorts in the lawsuit: “The court has again confirmed that VKontakte is a good-faith information intermediary,” said its spokesperson. What’s just as interesting, though, is chatter coming out of Russia that VK is making progress towards securing deals with at least some major labels to launch a properly-licensed music service. Given the still-nascent Russian digital music market, that would be a welcome development, building on VK’s “goodwill agreement” with Sony Music in June.