MOSCOW, July 28 (RAPSI) – Russia's top social network VKontakte (VK) reached a settlement with recording label Sony Music of their litigation over alleged copyright infringement, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday.
As a result, Sony Music dropped its lawsuit against VK which had been filed with the Commercial Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
The company asked for the controversial content to be removed from the social network and sought 15.6 million rubles ($438,000) in damages.
Sony Music has become the first large foreign company with which VK has found common ground, according to Vedomosti.
Having settled their dispute, Sony Music and VKontakte have agreed to legalize music that is present in the social network.
Sony Music has signed a contract to this effect, but not with VKontakte or its main shareholder, Mail.ru Group. It signed the contract with Oleg Butenko’s United Music Agency (UMA). Butenko is the former director of MegaLabs, a MegFon subsidiary, which is controlled by Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holding.
USM Holding also controls Mail.ru Group.
A source told Vedomosti that VKontakte would gradually modernize its music service by introducing commercial services. Music services for smartphones will be accessible for a fee, while music streamed via computers will be available for free but will include commercials.
The newspaper source said two other suits between VKontakte and Warner Music and Universal Music could be settled out of court too. However, one of the latter companies said they would fight to the bitter end.
Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music sued VKontakte in the spring of 2014 claiming that it streamed pirated music and demanded the removal of the infringing music and 50 million rubles ($1.4mln) in damages.