Russia Acquits Of Copyright Violation; Where Now For Angry Record Labels?

The music industry is predictably up in arms after a Moscow court found the former boss of controversial Russian music downloads site not guilty on copyright violation charges. From Reuters): Judge Yekaterina Sharapova: “The prosecution did not succeed in presenting persuasive evidence of [Denis Kvasov’s] involvement in infringing copyright law. Everybody who uses soundtracks has to pay a certain amount of their income to the rights holders and this company has done that. MediaServices has paid a certain amount of money to ROMS, [Russia’s royalties collection agency].”, which sold tracks online at significantly below market value, was shut by Russian authorities in June after pressure from upset record labels. Parent MediaServices claimed it was legit because it was licensed by ROMS, but the international music industry does not recognize the body and the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) umbrella pressed for action, resulting in a trial for MediaServices boss Kvasov. It’s a resounding, yet perhaps predictable, loss for the music industry – was Russia ever likely to find against a company that apparently complies with its own copyright process, no matter how shaky that process in international eyes?

Via the Times, Sharapova even highlighted “the sloppy job done by prosecutors in collecting and analyzing the facts.” IFPI, “extremely disappointed”, says it will now appeal but, in reality, the matter may have to be resolved by higher authorities: the case has, of late. been a bargaining chip in Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization. Those negotiations may now grow to include Russia’s international copyright compliance., MediaServices’ offspring of the deceased, lives on. The Times has more.