Major record labels file complaints against Apple over Russian music piracy apps

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Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music, and SBA Music Publishing have filed complaints against Apple in Russia for distributing apps on the App Store that allow users to play music without first paying for it.

On October 1, Russia ratified a law requiring distribution platforms to remove piracy-enabling apps from their stores quickly should a company file a complaint. The law, signed by President Putin, aims to curb piracy by targeting both developers and storefronts, rather than the content itself.

If the content is not removed promptly, major tech companies such as Apple and Google could find themselves blocked by local internet service providers.

According to TorrentFreak, Sony, Universal Music, and SBA Music (a subsidiary of Warner) filed complaints at the Moscow City Court the day the law went into effect.

The complaints target three apps that are currently available on the App Store. All three apps in question monetize the content, either through persistent advertisements or a subscription model. One of the apps, Music Player and Downloader, offers a subscription plan that is more expensive than the legal alternative, Spotify.

According to Roman Lukyanov, who represents the record labels, the cases will function as a "test run," and many copyright holders monitor the outcomes. Local anti-piracy group AZAPI states that it will use the law in the future, especially against Google's Play Store.

TorrentFreak points out that, while this process could result in removing the apps from the App Store, the companies could just have easily sent DMCA notices to Apple, which would have required the company to remove the apps in a more timely fashion.