Last week, the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court offered long-awaited explanations about the decision it issued in January of last year regarding an alleged copyright infringement involving Vkontakte.ru, the leading social network in Russia. The Gala Records record label had accused Vkontakte of having illegally offered online copyrighted recordings by the Russian band ‘Infinity’.

Vkontakte claimed it only provided web hosting services for its users and therefore could not be liable for any copyright violations.

Although it accepted this point of view, the Arbitration Court still found Vkontakte guilty of “passive behavior,” considering that the social network had not reacted adequately to address the copyright owners’ claims. Gala Records had asked Vkontakte to delete the litigious content but Vkontakte only withdrew links to it from its search results. The Court found that this was not enough, following recommendations of the Supreme Arbitration Court as well as recent amendments to the Russian civil code.

Last summer, Vkontakte handed over the IP addresses of some ten users to Gala Records in an attempt to settle the record label’s suit out of court.

Gala Records is nevertheless appealing the decision in a bid to obtain 1.05 million rubles in damages, approximately $35,000, instead of the 210,000 rubles, or $7,000, the St. Petersburg Court ordered Vkontakte to pay.