Author: Tiffany Samuel

In Russia, copyright holders score a key win

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is praising a judgment in Russia against vKontakte, a popular social networking site boasting more than 110 million registered users, for copyright infringement.  Experts are calling this a landmark IP action in an area of the world where copyright challenges abound for creative content producers. reports on the Commercial Arbitrazh Court decision out of St. Petersburg finding vKontakte guilty of illegally providing unlicensed music to users via their unlicensed music service on its online site.  Plaintiffs and members of the Russian Gala Music Group, SBA Publishing and SBA Production, had sued, asserting that vKontakte provided online user access to their sound recordings and music compositions without licensing agreements.  image by In a nutshell, the basis for the infringing activity claim is the massive amount of Russian and International sound recordings made available to online users via the streaming of music.  Moreover, as reported in, the court reasoned that users were encouraged to create unlawful downloading apps to obtain vKontakte’s music content.  As a result, further cases are pending against vKontakte. In an article by, France Moore, the CEO of IFPI, stated that: This is a very important ruling for Russia.  It shows that sites like vKontakte cannot build a business on making music available without licenses from content owners.  Such services are directly liable for the unlicensed music they make available.  They cannot avoid...

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In Brazil, Sony pays piper for racist tune

Just in time for the U.S. holiday that honors the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King for his role in battling for civil rights in this country comes the latest hemispheric finding in a case that shows the challenges when a democratic, multicultural society seeks to both allow free speech but also to curtail racist, hateful expression — in this instance a curious slap at a global music publisher for its role with the lyrics of a song by a popular Brazilian clown cum politician. Sony Music Entertainment just recently has been ordered in Brazil to pay $1.2 million Brazilian reals ($656,000 U.S.) in a lawsuit brought by ten nongovernmental organizations that combat racism. As reported by Gata Negras in a recent post on the blog  Black Women of Brazil, the Civil Chamber in Rio de Janeiro awarded the antiracism groups that sum after Sony’s unsuccessful 2004 appeal; the legal body imposed the penalty, calculating inflation on the plaintiffs’ suit’s value and interest retroactive to 1997. At issue is Sony’s release of the song, Veja os Cabelos Dela (Look at Her Hair), on the CD Florentina.  Sony Music holds the copyrights on the work and distributed 250,000 or so copies. The song offended many Afro-Brazilians and women, with what critics assailed as its racist and misogynistic lyrics; the tune asserts that the hair of black women — whom it labels as malordorous — could be used to...

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The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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