Record Labels Planning Lawsuit For Russian Facebook

Nine music labels are reportedly preparing to sue Russian social networking site Vkontakte, known as the “Facebook Of Russia,” for allowing its users to illicitly stream music by Madonna, Linkin Park, Metallica, Beyoncé and others.

Major labels EMI, Sony and Warner Bros. are among the labels planning to unleash hounds of litigation on the website, reports TechCrunch.  The labels are expected to sue Vkontakte under a Russian copyright law that originally focused on video but was amended to include music copyright protections.  The law calls for site operators to provide “easy-to-find” contact information to facilitate the complaint process and can force ISPs to block traffic if takedown notices aren’t handled in a timely manner.

Although Vkontakte does not charge users for listening to music streams posted by other members of the online social network, the head of the Russian version of the RIAA – Leonid Agronov of the National Federation Of The Music Industry – noted that the site does make money from streaming because it runs advertising with the music.

This isn’t the first time Vkontakte has been in hot water regarding music copyrights.  In January 2012 the social network was fined the equivalent of $7,000 for not having the proper copyright licensing to stream works by Russian songwriters.  The site took down approximately 7,000 tracks in June.  In August Vkontakte hired U.K. company Muso to track and remove copyrighted music.