Court Cracks Down on Copyright Violators From Russia

Oct 12, 2020

For many creators in the USA, defending their copyrights on the internet is frustrating, especially from sites abroad. However, a USA appellate court ruled against copyright violators from Russia.

Certainly, some countries do not defend copyrights or other forms of intellectual property as the USA does.

So this may be an encouraging news for creators.

On June 26, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion on the case UGM Recordings, Inc. v. Kurbanov. In this ruling, the Court held a Russian based internet site subject to personal Jurisdiction in the USA.

To clarify, what does this Russian internet site do that is important for the USA courts to step in?

Russian Sites Beware

Tofig Kurbanov owns two websites in Russia called “FLVTO” and “2conv”. Those websites provide stream-ripping services. The features in them allow users to download copyright music extracted from U-Tube videos. The sites do not charge users for ripping the music. What is more valuable to Kurbanov is collecting and selling the geodata of the hundreds of thousands of users.

Ripping music is not legal. It violates intellectual property rights.

Consequently, twelve record companies, owners of the copyrighted music, objected to Kurbanov’s activities. They sued him in federal court in Virginia.

In response, Kurbanov alleged the courts did not have jurisdiction against him since his businesses were in Russia. He said he had never even visited the USA or Virginia.

Fast forward to the proceedings in the 4th Circuit.

Courts Get Technical

The judges analyzed the sites’ geodata finding that they attracted over 300 million visitors worldwide in about a year. Incidentally, 10% of users came from the USA. About 2% (nearly 600,000 users) came from Virginia. 

For the appellate Court, this data was powerful enough to rule: The USA has authority against the Russian sites.

This is the important take away:

First, USA companies will fight vigorously intellectual property violations.

Second, the courts will get technical.

Third, users around the world need to be mindful of changes in intellectual property laws and avoid infringement.

In conclusion, the long arm of the law may be able to get infringers wherever they are hiding.


Marcos E. Garciaacosta is a successful business and trademark lawyer serving clients in Arizona, the USA, and internationally.

Marcos has filed over 1000 trademarks in the USA with USPTO. In addition, he has filed in global jurisdictions such as Mexico, the European Union, China, and India to name a few.

Call us to schedule your appointment at (480) 324-6378. He will guide you and represent you from the trademark research, filing, and beyond.

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