A few days ago, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) claimed that the Russian Federation lacks anti-piracy enforcement (although it doesn’t). The group, whose members are MPAA and RIAA, among others, claimed that VKontakte (InTouch) remains one of the worst piracy havens, but for some reason, however, the largest Hollywood studios willingly use the website for promotional purposes.
The largest social network in Russia, VKontakte (or just VK), has long been criticized for its passive approach to piracy. Indeed, the website is flooded with illegal content including films, TV shows and music, uploaded by its users. This is why the United States Trade Representative has called the website a “notorious market”. Despite the fact that VKontakte has implemented some measures to address the problems in 2014, copyright owners are still not satisfied. Government of the United States decided to hold a hearing on Russia’s WTO implementation and pointed out that piracy is rampant in the country.
Numerous complaints have been submitted to the Russian authorities, but the widespread piracy is still a problem of the giant social network. Back in 2013, Russia enforced a new law which would allow rights owners to have structurally infringing websites blocked. However, the efforts to target VKontakte have failed thus far.
The MPAA and other rights owners have been criticizing VK for years. With this in mind, you can be surprised to learn that many Hollywood studios actively advertise their content on this social network. Despite the efforts of copyright holders to prevent advertising networks from doing business with pirate websites, major movie studios including Warner Bros actively advertize on VK and see no problem with that.
Above you can see a screenshot of the VK profile of Warner Bros. Russian branch, now accounting for 146,760 members. You can notice that apart from promoting their new films, they also list music tracks on their page they don’t appear to hold the copyrights to. Universal Pictures, Disney, Marvel and 20th Century Fox all have community pages for Russian fans on the network as well.
The question is shouldn’t the copyright owners stop willingly advertise on VK instead of asking Russia to take action against it?