Goltsblat BLР: for the first time ever, a Russian court requires a social network to filter its content


28 September 2015 saw court hearings on claims filed against the VKontakte social network by the sound recording majors Universal Music Russia and Warner Music UK, represented by a team of lawyers from Goltsblat BLР, the Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP)

The litigation in the first instance court, lasting since 2014, was finally concluded on 28 September 2015. The Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region satisfied the claim and required OOO V Kontakte to make use on the site vk.com effective software for preventing phonograms being posted on the site without permission from the right holders. This means that the social network must introduce audio-fingerprinting software to exclude the possibility of pirated audio-content being uploaded on to it. Russian courts have never before issued such decisions and only European courts have required introduction of fingerprinting software.  

The team of Goltsblat BLP lawyers, headed by Elena Trusova, Partner of the Dispute Resolution/Intellectual Property Practice, included Senior Associates Evgeny Oreshin, Anton Nefedyev and Yana Pylaeva

Elena Trusova commented: “We are pleased that the case on which we have acted for the claimants for two years has culminated in such an important and novel decision for court practice”.

Let us recall that, in April 2014, Universal Music Russia,  Warner Music UK and Sony Music Entertainment filed claims against OOO V Kontakte with the Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region for infringement of neighbouring rights to their phonograms to be halted. Sony Music Entertainment and OOO V Kontakte had already concluded an amicable agreement previously.  

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