For several years VKontakte, or VK, has been branded as a piracy facilitator by copyright holders and even the U.S. Government.
In common with many user-generated sites, VK allows its millions of users to upload anything from movies and TV shows to their entire music collections. However, copyright holders often claim that Russia’s social network has failed to adopt proper anti-piracy measures.
Last year this resulted in a lawsuit filed at the Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region Arbitration Court, in which Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music demanded countermeasures and compensation for the large scale copyright infringement VK allegedly facilitates.
The case is still ongoing, but as of this week Sony Music has dropped out. According to a local report Sony and VK signed a confidential settlement agreement to resolve the dispute.
No further details on the content of the deal have been published, but according to sources VK will upgrade its current music service.
Among other things, the social network will start charging mobile users for access to its official music platform. Desktop users will still have free access, but these views will be monetized through advertisements.
Both changes will be rolled out gradually after a thorough test phase.
The settlement with Sony Music is a breakthrough for the Russian equivalent of Facebook, but it doesn’t mean that all legal troubles are over.
The remaining cases against Universal Music and Warner Music haven’t been resolved yet. Together with Sony the companies demanded 50 million rubles ($830,000) in damages in their complaint last year, and VK is still on the hook for most of it.