Moscow, February 17 (RAPSI) – Eksmo, one of Russia's leading publishing houses, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Russian social media giant VKontakte, the Supreme Commercial Court revealed in a statement Monday.
Eksmo, which is said to control about 20% of the Russian book market, is seeking 350,000 rubles (around $10,000) from the social-media network.
The lawsuit had been filed after four digital books copyrighted by Eksmo were placed in the public domain on Vkontakte website, RIA Novosti reported, citing an unnamed representative of the publishing house.
He added that VKontakte was properly notified about the infringement, but ignored the notification. British author Erica Leonard James, better known by the pen name E L James, is among the authors listed in the lawsuit.
The Russian anti-piracy law was adopted in June and took effect on August 1, 2013, despite protests from Internet companies. It sets out the legal grounds and procedure for limiting access to websites that distribute movies and TV films in violation of copyright. The law also sets out the rules for bringing to account or condoning information brokers (Internet and hosting providers).
Russian publishers have voiced their concerns about the limited scope of the law claiming that it should have a broader effect and cover books as well.
Oleg Novikov, CEO of Eksmo, raised the issue at the Russian Literature Club, a professional meeting held in November and attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
VKontakte has drawn much attention since October 2012 when it was held liable for illegally hosting songs by Russian pop singer MakSim. The network was fined $18,000 for copyright infringement.
Last November certain sections of the network were blocked following an order from a Moscow court based on claims of extremism.
According to Bloomberg, VKontakte is one of 22 entities on a list of “notorious markets” compiled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The Russian network has a business model that “appears to include enabling the unauthorized reproduction and distribution, including streaming, of music and other content,” according to the U.S. Trade Representative report.
VKontakte is a popular Russian social network, being one of the country's most visited sites. Established in 2006, VKontakte boasts approximately 200 million registered users and is more popular than Facebook in Russia. Its audience reaches over 40 million users daily.