MOSCOW - Russia's biggest music publishers and labels are boycotting Nokia and Samsung for their alleged failure to pay music license fees. The labels and publishers which signed the manifesto estimate their losses at 1.2 billion rubles (about $40 million).
The Russian Copyright Owners Union (RSP), the country's largest collection society, has said if the matter cannot be resolved amicably it has not ruled out filing a lawsuit against the two companies.
Fourteen record labels and music publishers, including SBA/Gala, All Music Publishing, which represents Sony/ATV Music Publishing in the Russian market, and Nikitin, the representative of Warner Music Group, have signed a manifesto, in which they say they are severing cooperation with Nokia and Samsung.
"We have stopped issuing licenses for the use of musical content to the companies Nokia and Samsung," reads the document.
The manifesto claims the two companies have been "avoiding the payment of licensing fees to rights holders, stipulated by the Russian law," since 2010. Under amendments to Russian legislation, which were enacted two years ago, all manufacturers of devices that can be used for playing music are supposed to pay a one per cent levy to the government-appointed collecting society RSP, which in turn would distribute payment among rights holders.
Meanwhile the RSP said it hopes a solution can be brokered. "We would like the [Russian] state agencies to intervene in the situation, but if it doesn't lead to any positive outcome, we will certainly go to court," Sergei Fyodorov, RSP's general director said to the Russian wire service RIA Novosti.
"But we hope the situation will be resolved and we will bring it to the attention of the local offices of these [foreign] companies since they are operating in the Russian market and need to abide by its laws," he went on to say.
Nokia and Samsung would not comment on the situation.