May 5, 2015 guardaley_alfred

Brighter future for Russia’s music business

“If torrent site owners are not interested in legal business, the response of the state will become quite obvious.” – Sergei Zheleznyak, State Duma Deputy Speaker

On May 1, Russia’s anti-piracy law (link to previous article about Russian law) was extended to more multimedia content including e-books, music and software. This would mean that the Russian High Court can order web hosting companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to permanently block those websites that constantly infringe copyright.

For so many years, Russia has been lenient with piracy. After witnessing the Russian Government‘s soft touch in penalising pirates, this move has brought excitement to the music industry. This can affect the Russian market positively. It could ultimately mean a better future for copyrights in Russia.

VKontakte “Russia’s Facebook”

Now, VKontakte (VK) is recognised as the biggest library that holds illegal online music. It’s even bigger than The Pirate Bay. As the largest Russian social network in Europe, VK is known for its ubiquity in the market. The majority of its users openly share and download music illegally since 2006 when it was founded.

Considering all this, music labels are engaged in progressive licensing discussions with VK. But the question is: could VKontakte which is the world’s biggest piracy website, go legit this year? (Still, Russia’s music business was improving slowly even before the new law arrived.) Record company owners can only hope that this could soon become a reality. As a start, negotiations are in place.

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