Russia's Facebook, vKontakte, is under fire for its
allegedly poor handling of pervasive copyright infringement on its
platform (literally translated from Russian, "v kontakte"
means "in contact"). The Association for the Protection
of Copyright on the Internet, or AZAPO, has sued vKontakte in
Moscow City Court on behalf of author Zahar Prilepin for
his book "Resident." AZAPO claims that vKontakte has
refused to respond to several takedown requests of unlicensed
digital copies of "Resident." AZAPO is seeking an
injunction that would force ISPs to block vKontake's 80 million
daily users' access to its social network.
vKontakte was previously sued by major music publishers
Universal and Warner, as well as by two Russian record companies,
in the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg. The Arbitration Court
ruled that vKontakte was not meeting its obligation to combat
piracy on its network. Though the Arbitration Court ruled that no
damages were due to Warner and Universal, it did award damages to
the Russian record companies. When asked why AZAPO did not seek
redress through the Arbitration Court, and instead chose Moscow
City Court, AZAPO's director general responded that procedures
in the Arbitration Court are too long and expensive, and copyright
owners need a more swift method of resolving infringement.
vKontakte, on the other hand, views this move as
"pressuring" the company rather than engaging in a
constructive conversation, which arbitration would provide.
Russia's reaction to enforcement of copyrights continues to
evolve, and many will be watching to see if the AZAPO case alters
the landscape for online revenues for books.
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On 8 September 2016 (C-160/15), the CJEU ruled that the posting of a hyperlink to copyright-protected works located on another website does not constitute copyright infringement when the link poster does not seek financial gain.
The chapter on the UK summarises the IP court and litigation system in the UK, recent developments in relation to IP law and practice, the forms and availability of IP protection and trends and outlook in the IP sphere.
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