VKontakte

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

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Universal Music Russia filed an appeal on the court's ruling in a dispute with the social network VKontakte over music copyright infringement, the Russian legal information agency has (RAPSI) reported. The news comes just two weeks after a source in the Russian music industry told the business daily Vedomosti that VKontakte was close to signing an agreement with Universal.

Universal was one of the three international majors that filed a lawsuit against VKontake over copyright infringement back in 2014. The others, Sony Music and Warner Music Group, have since signed agreements with the social network.

VKontakte declined to comment on the Universal appeal. However, this new round in court is all but guaranteed to postpone the social network's long-expected switch to a fully legitimate digital music offering. VKontakte has long been speaking about switching from famously unauthorized user-uploaded music content to licensed music that will be properly monetized, with profits shared with rights holders. Earlier this month, VKontakte made a major step towards legalizing its music content by launching a new music app for iPhone and iPad, which allows users to stream legitimate music. Although no timeframe for the switch has ever been provided, the move is clearly impossible before all of the company's legal issues with all the majors have been settled. 

A hearing date for Universal's appeal has not yet been announced.

Two years ago, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group filed a joint lawsuit against VKontakte over copyright infringement and demanded compensation of just over 50 million rubles ($760,000).

In the summer of 2015, Sony and VKontakte signed a good-will agreement, before Sony bailed. Last October, a Russian court ruled that VKontakte should take extra measures to prevent illegal uploads of music by its users, awarding no damages to the plaintiffs.

Two months ago, another court upheld that ruling, after which VKontakte and Warner signed an agreement.