Warner leaves Universal to fight VK alone as it settles out of court

VK.com and Warner Music Group (WMG) have signed a confidential out of court settlement, bringing to an end a two-year legal battle.

Warner Music, Sony Music and Universal Music filed copyright infringement cases against VK in Russia in April 2014.

However, following a demoralizing decision by the Saint Petersburg & Leningradsky Region Appeal Court last month – which found the platform not liable for copyright infringement taking place on its service – WMG has opted to drop its case, and agree a secret deal with VK.

It’s not the first major to have done so: Sony Music Entertainment settled with the platform in July last year – an agreement believed to be contingent on VK’s promise to begin monetising its content.

That leaves Universal fighting a legal battle with VK completely alone, and perhaps looking likely to follow Sony and Warner’s decision to settle.

“VK continues to move towards cooperation with record companies and other rights holders.”

Boris Dobrodeev, VK.com

As part of the Warner agreement, VK says will now offer on its platform a variety of licensed and monetized music services from United Media Agency LLC (UMA), a Russian music service provider.

WMG says this will enable customers throughout the Russian marketplace to engage with WMG content through UMA’s own licensed offerings and various approved platforms.

Boris Dobrodeev, CEO of VK said: “VK continues to move towards cooperation with record companies and other rights holders.

“This agreement is another important milestone in this direction, and both music fans and rights holders will benefit.”

Alexander Blinov, CEO, Warner Music Russia, said: “We believe there is huge potential to grow our business in Russia, and further invest in local talent, when artists and rights holders are compensated fairly.

“These arrangements represent a significant step on the journey to a properly functioning market.”

VK, the second largest social network in Europe, has become known as ‘Russia’s Facebook’.

The majority of its 88m Russian users are understood to have used the site to illegally share copyrighted material.Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts