Russian sites have been a place to find pirated music for a while. Long before applications like Spotify and Pandora made music piracy the exception instead of the rule when it comes to “the most convenient way to find a song” people were using Russian marketplaces that sold songs for pennies on the dollar in quasi-legal marketplaces that rarely, if ever, paid that money back to the record labels.
Russia’s Facebook equivalent, vKontakte, is not one of those sites, but I wanted to provide some background on Russia’s internet piracy history.
Services like the aforementioned Spotify and Pandora as well as iTunes, have done a lot more to curb music piracy than any kind of regulation has done, but that hasn’t stopped the major record label for trying to prevent piracy the only way they know how: brute force.
vKontakte (VK) is the subject of a legal attack in St. Petersberg by Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music, for allegedly facilitating large scale copyright infringement.
The record labels want VK to take anti-piracy measures like “fingerprinting” to prevent piracy. Fingerprinting is the ability for a service to automatically recognize copyrighted material and prevent it from being uploaded. The record labels claim that they requested VK do it years ago, but nothing has been done to curb user piracy on the social media site.
VK allows users to upload pretty much whatever they want and share it with others on the social network. It claims to have over 100 million users.
Record labels spent millions trying to prevent online piracy here in the states through the 1990s and 2000s. Despite some high profile victories in court, nothing they did made a dent. It wasn’t until tech companies started providing a more convenient and inexpensive way to enjoy music that music piracy started to decline.
Someone, apparently, doesn’t learn from history.