Again Labeled 'Notorious,' Russia's VKontakte Vows to Keep Fighting Piracy in 2017

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The VKontakte app shown on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5. 

The Russian social network VKontakte reacted to again making the United States Trade Representative's list of the world's most notorious pirate markets by promising to clean up its act in 2017.

"Next year, we will continue our work on signing licensing agreements with rights holders we don't yet have agreements with," VKontakte's spokesman told Billboard. "Some steps aimed at licensing content were announced in 2016 and we hope that they will be appreciated by regulators in 2017."

"VKontakte continues active work aimed at licensing audio and video content for the social network," he went on to say.

Over the last few years, VKontakte has made considerable steps aimed at improving its record for copyright infringement.

The action was largely prompted by a joint lawsuit against VKontake filed in 2014 by Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group over copyright infringement.

Later, Sony removed itself from the suit, signing a goodwill agreement with VKontakte. In October 2015, a Russian court ruled that VKontakte should take more steps to prevent illegal uploads by its users, but awarded no damages to the plaintiffs.

In late 2015, VKontakte and WMG signed a licensing deal, which was followed by an agreement with UMG in July 2016.

VKontakte also signed deals with The Orchard, Merlin, Believe Digital and a few other rights holders in 2016, the company's spokesman said.

However, VKontakte has yet to deliver on its promise to launch a fully legitimate music service that would be monetized, with revenues shared with rights holders.

In early 2016, VKontakte said it would launch the service before the end of the year.

Similarly, VKontakte's action aimed at preventing users from uploading unlicensed music leaves much to be desired. At the moment, numerous versions of copyrighted music tracks, uploaded by users, are available across the service.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.