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Russia Agrees To Shut Down AllOfMP3.com 550

Posted by kdawson
from the call-that-multilateral? dept.
Pro-SEO writes, "An official document (PDF), dated November 19, summarizes an agreement between the U.S. and Russia in which Russia has agreed to close down AllofMP3.com, and any sites that 'permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works.' The agreement is posted to the Web site for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It summarizes the joint efforts of the two countries to fight content piracy, an issue in which Russia and Eastern Europe figure prominently." From the document: "This agreement sets the stage for further progress on IPR issues in Russia through the next phase of multilateral negotiations, during which the United States and other WTO members will examine Russia's IPR regime."
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Russia Agrees To Shut Down AllOfMP3.com

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  • Asshats (Score:5, Funny)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:41AM (#17030344) Homepage
    And if the RIAA does not see a corresponding increase in their music sales, will they then realize that "stealing" is not the problem, but rather a lack of sanctioned paid music sites which offer the quality, convenience, unencumbered formats, and broad selection that piracy offers?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      Indeed, this is a disgrace! So they forced Russia to shut off basically a single website, and otherwise just don't let them enter WTO. What if they had refused, would the US have invaded them? Also notice that this was actually mainly the wish of the US, the rest of the WTO just following like sheep there I suppose.

      I wonder how long this ass-licking of the US will go on. Decreasing value of the dollar, increase of the value of foreign currencies, and by now everyone except the UK is pissed of with how the

      • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Insightful)

        by estarriol (864512) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:43AM (#17030652)
        and by now everyone except the UK is pissed of with how the US brings immense problems to the world, without having the slightest idea how to solve them.
        Speaking from and as part of the UK, I can assure you that the majority of the UK is extremely pissed off with US foreign policy, and the weakness of our own administrators who go along with it. This is most certainly not our finest hour.
        • by pimpimpim (811140)
          Ah yes, sorry, I meant lap-dog Blair :) Didn't want to insult you!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alioth (221270)
          So the majority is so pissed off with US foreign policy and our own administrators that go along with it...we voted them in for another term?
      • The official document does indeed read like the Russians caved in on all fronts. To an extent where I wonder if it is telling the whole truth. Russia is still a considerable power and I don't think they need to suck up everything the US is telling them.
        Maybe the US government is just spreading propaganda here??
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        First off, at the end of the day AllofMP3 was not giving artists and production / media companies their required due, so what they were doing was immoral, if technically legal at the time. No matter how you cut it, these goods and services have a value set by the vendor; if the market doesn't want to pay the price demanded, the market can simply not purchase them. It doesn't give people laissez-faire to take other people's work without paying for it. Before I get jumped on by the million-boot slashdot hive

        • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Informative)

          by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @05:20AM (#17030834)
          First off, at the end of the day AllofMP3 was not giving artists and production / media companies their required due, so what they were doing was immoral

          Allof MP3 offered to pay royalties. All anyone had to do was fill out a form. The **AAs refused to deal with them, so they could do exactly what they've done today: call them pirates and get the US govt to force them out of business.

          • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Insightful)

            by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @05:29AM (#17030902) Journal
            First off, at the end of the day AllofMP3 was not giving artists and production / media companies their required due, so what they were doing was immoral, if technically legal at the time.
            Allof MP3 offered to pay royalties. All anyone had to do was fill out a form. The **AAs refused to deal with them,

            The Russian Organization on Collective Management of Rights of Authors and Other Rightholders in Multimedia, Digital Networks & Visual Arts (ROMS) [www.roms.ru] is the Russian equivalent to RIAA. Until September 1st 2006 the fact that Allofmp3 site payed the requird fees for the distribution of the intellectual property to this organization made the AllOfMp3 distribution legal. It did not made the "reception" of such intellectual property legal on your country but what they were doing was completely legal and moral in their country.

            It is as simple as selling mariguana in the Netherlands. It is legal and moral to do it there, and in contrast it is illegal and immoral to sell it on the USA. It is legal to publish DIY methods for mariguana production while in other countries might not be the case.

            Now, I do not know if *after* the amendment (see the link) the allofmp3 current practices became illegal, that would need to be tested in A RUSSIAN COURT. I hope it is tried there, and I hope Allofmp3 win. However, we will have to see that int he following months.

            Hope this helps.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by b0s0z0ku (752509)
              It is as simple as selling mariguana in the Netherlands. It is legal and moral to do it there, and in contrast it is illegal and immoral to sell it on the USA. It is legal to publish DIY methods for mariguana production while in other countries might not be the case.

              Actually, marijuana is technically *illegal* in the Netherlands. The law is just not enforced anymore. In neither of those places is it immoral to sell 420 as long as you're doing so to consenting adults and selling a pure product (not adult

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Znork (31774)
          "these goods and services have a value set by the vendor;"

          Oh, bull. The price is set with the assistance of coercive government monopoly powers; as such most of the price is entirely derived _from_ that particular legal construct, and has little to do with the inherent value of the good. And has nothing whatsoever to do with morality.

          "if the market doesn't want to pay the price demanded, the market can simply not purchase them."

          Yes, that's how monopolies work and why they're such a destructive force on the
        • Re:Asshats (Score:4, Informative)

          by Christian Engstrom (633834) <christian.engstr ... t p a r t iet.se> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:22AM (#17031130) Homepage
          Once the greenback stops being the de facto currency of global trade, it will decrease in value sharply, and US spending power with it. The natural inheritor of that throne is the euro; not only is it based in a group of stable democracies with no expansionist ideals, the EU market is what, double or triple the size of the US.

          The EU market isn't quite that big, but the argument you're making is valid anyway.

          In the excellent CIA World Factbook [cia.gov], we find that the purchasing power partity GDP numbers for the US, EU and the world are:

          US: 12.31 trillion [cia.gov]
          EU: 12.18 trillion [cia.gov]
          World: 60.63 trillion [cia.gov]

          In other words: EU and the US each have 20% of the world's economic power.

          This is all fine and well, but the problem is that the US is behaving as if it was still 1945, when the US was the economic giant of the world, and nobody else came close.

          Especially in IP matters, the US has pursued a very agressive course against most other countries in the world. So far the US has managed to get away with this strategy, but it hasn't made the US any new friends around the world.

          Looking at the GDP numbers and thinking about how the percentages will shift in the future, it's not obvious that the attitude "do as we say, or else..." will work indefinitely. If you want to behave like a bully and dictate the terms for everybody else, you'd better be considerably stronger than everybody else if you want to get away with it. And the US ain't, to put it bluntly.

          It is quite possible that the RIAA/MPAA dictated strong arm tactics of the US government may one day start to backfire. When it does, that could be start of some very interesting times.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          It doesn't give people laissez-faire to take other people's work without paying for it.

          You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
        • Re:Asshats (Score:4, Informative)

          by runderwo (609077) <runderwo@ma i l . w i n . org> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:29AM (#17033050)
          No matter how you cut it, these goods and services have a value set by the vendor
          No! The price is set by the vendor. The value is set by the market. The vendor assuming that they can set the value by setting the price is the problem - this is artificial scarcity. People see that the price set by the RIAA cartel does not match the value and seek an alternate supply.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pubjames (468013)
        and by now everyone except the UK is pissed of with how the US brings immense problems to the world

        Just so you are aware, most people in the UK are very pissed off with the US (or more accurately, Bush and his cronies) as well.
    • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kentrel (526003) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:54AM (#17030408) Journal
      And if the RIAA does not see a corresponding increase in their music sales, will they then realize that "stealing" is not the problem, but rather a lack of sanctioned paid music sites which offer the quality, convenience, unencumbered formats, and broad selection that piracy offers?

      And if they do see a corresponding increase in their music sales, will you then realise the opposite?

      • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Informative)

        by seanadams.com (463190) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:59AM (#17030428) Homepage
        And if they do see a corresponding increase in their music sales, will you then realise the opposite?

        Yes, for I am not an asshat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bersl2 (689221)
        Five bucks^Wrubles says they cook the books.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kentrel (526003)
          Five bucks^Wrubles says they cook the books.

          Prove it.

          • Prove it: (Score:4, Informative)

            by tinkerghost (944862) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:40AM (#17033236) Homepage
            New Line is telling Jackson that LOTR is still in the red - despite giving bonuses to it's board for huge profits.
            It's a known fact that the numbers in recording companies books are magical. They are sued and loose every year for underreporting profits for individual artists. They just keep doing it because they get away with it often enough to make it profitable.
            For one example from the video industry:
            Kohn says in his lawsuit that he engaged an auditor who was barred from seeing numerous MGM documents but did find "material shortfalls, overcharges, discrepancies [and] irregularities" in his film's DVD accounting. In one instance, he says, MGM deducted $7,312.68 for "Basket" returns from a bankrupt video chain that appeared to have ordered no DVDs.
            For the record, that's over 1% of the gross from the theatrical release of the movie.
            If you want cooking the books, look no farther than the 15% "breakage" that record companies deduct from the digital sales through iTunes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Helix150 (177049) *
      no, why would they? they have been blissfully disconnected from reality for years, chances are they will be too busy declaring victory to notice any change in sales or lack thereof.

      It's a sad fact of human nature- we naturally see things from our own POV and don't look at it from any other perspective. That's why the music industry sucks so much- they (the ones in charge) see things from their own POV. From their POV things are nice and cozy, they are ass raping the artists, and the consumers, and just a
    • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ash Vince (602485) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:29AM (#17030576) Journal
      No, they will find someone else to blame instead.
  • Arcade game (Score:5, Funny)

    by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:42AM (#17030346)
    There's an arcade game, where you have a dozen jack-in-the-box little heads which pop up, and a hammer, and your goal is to hit as many heads as you can as quickly as you can, as they pop up again a little while after you've hit them down.
  • Unrelated (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:42AM (#17030352)
    In completely unrelated news, the entire body of the WTO has gone home early today feeling ill and glowing slightly after being served tea by a thickly bearded new manservant.

  • by linuxci (3530) * on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:47AM (#17030368)
    Although I've never used it I would have to say this site was the real Plays for Sure of the music world. It's a shame the record companies did not embrace this model as a lot of people would be willing to pay iTunes prices for DRM-free audio in a choice of formats. Instead the only site that offered consumers choice is being closed down which would be fair enough if a viable legal alternative would spring up, but until the RIAA start embracing technology that won't happen.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      As I understood it, the artists never earned a penny from sales through this site, so it might be great for the consumers, but why on earth would you expect the music industry to embrace this? The RIAA might be bastards, but if they championed a model where the artists got zero, as opposed to 'not very much', you'd hate them even more.
      I'm pretty sure theres enough economists working at sony etc to decide (with all the data they have) the sweet spot for music pricing. This just means that a lot of people wh
      • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:49AM (#17030702)

        As I understood it, the artists never earned a penny from sales through this site, so it might be great for the consumers, but why on earth would you expect the music industry to embrace this?

        Well if that is true, that's a shame. But he doesn't expect the RIAA to embrace the website; he expects them to embrace what the website offered: Choice of formats without DRM restrictions. Allofmp3, even at 320kbps MP3, was only like 20-30 cents per song and the grandparent rightly supposes that people would pay more for those same choices, even the $0.99 an iTunes track costs. I can vouch for this myself. I do not purchase from iTunes because of the DRM issues (the lack of choice too, but to a lesser extent) but would be happy to pay $0.99 for that 320 kbps MP3 if that is what I want a particular song in.

        I doubt Allofmp3 was a charity operation, so they were making money even with the low prices. That means that if the RIAA were to set up an identical system, and increase the prices such that the highest bitrate MP3* was $0.99, they would have roughly 60 cents per download of guaranteed profit on top of whatever the production/distribution costs of the files are that they can split amongst the artists. Does the artist get 60% right now? Heck, even if the RIAA pocketed half I think the artists would still end up making more under this scheme than they do for the current incarnation of iTunes.

        I think cinema tickets are too expensive, so I dont go, but you can bet that the number of people who *do* go outweigh the small loses by losing me as a customer.

        That is a different issue. Cinema tickets are a limited resource. Once all the tickets for a show are sold out, they can't sell more. In that sense, losing you as a customer only matters if demand is less than the number of seats available. Otherwise, they simply won't even notice you did not come. If supply is great, they either need to add more show dates (which is not always feasible) or expand the theater size and hope that the next show that comes through has similar demand. If not, they're losing money.

        Online music distribution is different. The costs to distribute another copy of a given song are miniscule, nearly negligible. The fact that you only produce that extra cost when somebody purchases the song means you ALWAYS make a profit on expansion. It would be like if every time somebody new wanted a ticket to that cinema show, a new seat--equally as good as every other seat in the place--would spring magically into existence. In this case, if you refused to buy a song because of the cost it would be a direct impact to them. Even if there are five buyers for every non-buyer, they'll still feel it because it's essentially free money to them. They had five sales where they could have had six, instead of having a sell-out where they could have had... a sell-out.

        Allofmp3 obviously made this system work at less than $0.99 a song, so it's doable. The only explanation I can think of as to why the RIAA doesn't give it a shot is because they're control freaks who are desperately trying to prove to the world that they were somehow still needed when they really are not.

        I'm sure piracy is a problem for them, although I'm also sure it's not nearly as big a problem monetarily as they would have us believe. The don't seem to realize that they can eliminate a large segment of that piracy by offering low-cost products. Pirating a $17 CD might be worth it. Pirating a $0.99 song becomes significantly less so. If I care enough about the song that I would want it at a high bitrate, such as this hypothetical new RIAA service would offer me, it would be even harder to find and less worth pirating.

        But meh. Logic doesn't seem to be high atop the RIAA's list of traits.

        * I keep mentioning 320kbps MP3 because that's what I got when I wanted a high-quality version. I could do OGG I suppose, but I don't; and honestly, I could personally hear no difference between the 320 MP3 and the FLAC when I compared once.

        • Yes AOMP3 was not a charity, and I'm sure they made plenty of money. It's easy to do when you pay almost NO royalties on any music you sell! Sure the MPAA didn't get anything from them but neither did the artists.

          If you like giving the same people money that are basically behind the massive Zombienets you see today, then buying from AOMP3 was an awesome choice for music. Basically it was more ethical to steal it outright!

      • by linuxci (3530) *

        As I understood it, the artists never earned a penny from sales through this site, so it might be great for the consumers, but why on earth would you expect the music industry to embrace this? The RIAA might be bastards, but if they championed a model where the artists got zero, as opposed to 'not very much', you'd hate them even more.

        I don't think they have to support AllOfMP3 but they needed to offer an equivalent but legit service first before killing it. AllOfMP3 showed it was possible to sell loads with this model, in theory people didn't have to pay anything (P2P) but were willing to pay for the conveneince of AllOfMP3. I think people would be willing to pay more than the AllOfMP3 price if the royalties are being distributed. As long as the format is unemcumbered.

      • AoMP3 *did* pay (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @05:26AM (#17030880) Homepage
        As I understood it, the artists never earned a penny from sales through this site


        AllofMP3.com did pay money to the local state copyright licensing organisation, as required by Russian law.
        (Per Russian law, if you want to broadcast music, all you have to do is to pay that organisation. Which will, in turn take care of sending the money were it's due).
        The problem is not at the level of AllofMp3.com. The problem is in the next step : that organisation then in turn paid the money only to local band and other cultural events.
        That's because, as other /. pointed in this thread, the western artists aren't registered at the Russian copyright organisation. Neither are there arrangement between the Russian organisation and foreign counterparts.

        By shutting down the AllOfMP3.com site, the USA doesn't solve the root problem. They only hide one of the most visible manifestation of the phenomenon.
        Nothing technically forbids another company to set up a similar service elsewere (say, a website that sells audio albums in FLAC DRM-less format, and uses international bank-2-bank money transfers as payment). As long as they follow Russian law and pay the money they're supposed to pay to the local copyright company, they won't be illegal.

        The real solution would be to find an arrangement between western artists and Russia. But that's highly unlikely, mostly because those artist have signed exclusive rights with the western companies. There for the only possible arrangement is between Russian an western companies. And that's something Russia doesn't want because probably the **AA, IFPI, etc. are going to ask for way too much money and nothing will be left for local projects. That's something Russia want to avoid. Therefor the current solution is what they find best as a way to earn an entry to the WTO.

        Be sure to see more AllOfMP3.com clones to appear and go unharmed once the Russia has secured its place within the WTO.

        (The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] has more detailed informations about the problem)
    • Although I've never used it I would have to say this site was the real Plays for Sure of the music world. It's a shame the record companies did not embrace this model as a lot of people would be willing to pay iTunes prices for DRM-free audio in a choice of formats.

      I just bought three tracks with my last 48 cents of balance. For the $10 I put in I got a lot of music and I would start buying at a higher price iff I can get it in high bit rate ogg. I have e-books in PDF as well and I don't walk around the of

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I guess the best alternative for now is probably emusic.com. Their catalog is a bit smaller (about 1,000,000 songs), but I find it has good quality music and a lot less junk than allofmp3. Of course they don't offer the same choice of formats (nothing free as in OGG), but at least they use LAME/APS encoded mp3's which are of course DRM-free. And they don't transcode mp3's like allofmp3 was reported to have done. No DRM means no big artists like Britney Spears, but I could care less when you've got Sonic
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:48AM (#17030370)
    Where else would you be able to make a deal with the government to shut down a private company that follows local laws? Of course it's not bribery if all you are giving in exchange is favorable trading regulations and a chance at WTO membership.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idonthack (883680)
      Where else would you be able to make a deal with the government to shut down a private company that follows local laws?
      Sweden [wikipedia.org].
       
      And of course America, if there's enough cash involved.
  • Damn that WTO (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:50AM (#17030382)
    Well, AoMP3 was nice while it lasted. But mostly I care about http://www.lib.ru/ [www.lib.ru] - it's the best Internet library in Russia.

    But we still have a hope, there's a Russian proverb: "Drastic Russian laws are softened by their loose observance". So I hope that lib.ru will continue to work 'underground'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vadim Makarov (529622)
      Whether lib.ru will continue to operate or not, ultimately does not matter. Once a book is OCRed and put online, it is impossible to eradicate. If publishers sue, resources will just go a bit deeper where prosecution is harder to do (just like it has happened with p2p music). For example, there is an IRC cnannel for English language literature far richer than any open web library.

      Anyway, I think lib.ru is to remain. It is well accepted by the whole Russian-speaking internet community, and it is a non-com
  • This was too good to last; now there are no decent (note that word) outlets for unemcumbered music. Anyways, anyone have any clue how long this will take?
    • by DuncanE (35734) *
      Its still working at the moment, but I suggest you clear your balances quickly.

      As it happens I've decided to switch back to CD's. I like the nice packaging. I don't buy many RIAA recordings anyway - there is plenty of quality independent music out there. Plus I can rip them at a reasonable bit rate and format of my choice.

      The only thing that annoys me about CD's is that its not easy to "try before you buy". Nothing worse that spending your hard earned dollars on a CD only to realise that its total crap. I w
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @03:57AM (#17030418) Homepage
    The US of A, fighting back actions they do not like around the world.
  • by sylvainsf (1020527) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:02AM (#17030442)
    TFA also mentions that pharmaceutical companies can't apply to sell generics of a drug in Russia without doing all their own clinical trials and submitting that documentation. I'm guessing that previously they could just use common sense and say IT'S THE SAME MOLECULE.
    • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:02AM (#17031062)
      Whoever modded this offtopic, shame on you. I've seen diversions in topic thread far more meandering and less relevant over the past few days.

      It's an interesting opportunity to discuss the differences and similarities of the Pharmaceutical / Music business models.

      Both of them provide

        * something of perceived high value
        * something where the bulk of cost in in the R&D phase
        * something with a low per-unit production cost
        * something where if the product is copied, it can be just as good as the original

      Arguably, both also

        * Advertise products excessively heavily given their actual value
        * Exploit the producers of their intellectual property

      The major difference is that the music industry has a consumer base where a significant fraction can copy the product themselves, whereas the pharamceutical industry only has to worry about industrial competitors in markets where their pricing levels cannot be supported.

      The agreement that Russia has entered is ostensibly about clincal trial data, but given that clinical trials represent the most time consuming and costly part of the development of any drug, it is essentially about prohibiting the marketing of that drug product by a competitor. This protection appears to be distinct and seperate from the protection that may (or may not) be afforded by patents, and is liable to be imposed upon other countries seeking WTO agreements. It is in effect, using the regulatory framework of the country against them.

      It could of course, be trivially circumvented by any country willing to make their certification process as simple as "the FDA approves of it, thus so shall we all".
  • by pla (258480) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:06AM (#17030448) Journal
    Russia has agreed to close down AllofMP3.com, and any sites that 'permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works.'

    One of the most significant contributions to human rights in all of human history came from Hammurabi - The concept of a written code of laws, which everyone could know and which applied equally to all people, thus making "justice" less subject to the biases of the king / emperor / caliph / whatever. He may not have quite lived up to that ideal, but as a basis for all modern reasonably-fair legal systems, it forms a cornerstone on which we've built everything since.

    AllOfMP3, whether the RIAA like it or not, operated within Russian law (or at least, they did so until this past September [techdirt.com]). Whether or not the new law closes the "loophole" (if you can call strong fair-use rights and lax copyright enforcement by-design a "loophole") will have to wait for the Russian authorities to make a case against someone.

    Either way, to announce the closing of AllOfMP3 as practically the basis of an international trade agreement strikes me as the most capricious undermining of the concept of modern jurisprudence imagineable. This announcement effectively says "The rule of law does not apply to the king's friends, and its protections do not extend to the king's friends' enemies".

    Buildings do not remain standing very long if you undermine their foundations. This should chill us all for a much, MUCH deeper reason than merely the loss of a way to get cheap music. I personally never even used AllOfMP3, and this scares the hell out of me. Imagine the same precedent applied, 20 years or so from now, to the US trying to get some economic favor from China...
    • If I didn't already post in this discussion, you'd have my modpoint.
    • This announcement effectively says "The rule of law does not apply to the king's friends, and its protections do not extend to the king's friends' enemies".
      Never forget the Golden Rule: "He who has the gold, makes the rules.".
    • AllOfMP3, whether the RIAA like it or not, operated within Russian law (or at least, they did so until this past September). Whether or not the new law closes the "loophole" (if you can call strong fair-use rights and lax copyright enforcement by-design a "loophole") will have to wait for the Russian authorities to make a case against someone.

      People can repeat that site's FUD ad infinitum if they like, but it cannot make falsehood into the truth.

      AllofMP3's rights derived from a Soviet government asserted ri
      • by Dunbal (464142) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @08:01AM (#17031924)
        You can't just pass a law that says that any intellectual property that happens to come within your borders (no matter how it got there) is fair game to be bought, sold, and copied by anyone who likes without any compensation to the owners of the rights to those properties.

              Yes you can. It's called sovereignty. If you don't like it your options are a) destroy that country's government by beating their army with your army or b) convince that government through incentives and international agreements to modify or eliminate that law.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tinkerghost (944862)

        Allofmp3 can have whatever rights it wants given to them by the Russian government, but the fact of the matter is, the Russian government did not have the authority to give the site those rights because it didn't have them. You can't just pass a law that says that any intellectual property that happens to come within your borders (no matter how it got there) is fair game to be bought, sold, and copied by anyone who likes without any compensation to the owners of the rights to those properties.

        Actually the

    • Oh please (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:28AM (#17031148) Journal
      One of the most significant contributions to human rights in all of human history came from Hammurabi - The concept of a written code of laws, which everyone could know and which applied equally to all people, thus making "justice" less subject to the biases of the king / emperor / caliph / whatever. He may not have quite lived up to that ideal, but as a basis for all modern reasonably-fair legal systems, it forms a cornerstone on which we've built everything since.

      AllOfMP3, whether the RIAA like it or not, operated within Russian law (or at least, they did so until this past September).


      Bingo. So as of September, a Russian law _does_ exist, under which offering such downloads is illegal. And it applies to everyone, not only to AllOfMP3.

      It's not even new. According to the very article you've linked to: " Luckily Russia passed just such a law a couple years ago... though it didn't go into effect until just last week." I took the liberty of highlighting a crucial point there. It's not some law passed over-night right now, but something that had been voted years ago.

      So a law does exist, and it does apply to everyone. Exactly like in all modern legal systems. And there were a couple of years given to everyone to clean up their act, before it goes in effect. Which is actually a lot more than most other modern legal systems give you.

      At best all that the new aggreement with the USA says is, "yep, we're actually going to enforce that law." Which, again, is perfectly normal in any modern legal system. And it seems to be what you ask for anyway: a law should apply to everyone equally, even if they're the emperor's friends or favourite purveyors of stolen goods. So, yes, it should equally apply to AllOfMP3 too.

      So basically please spare me the bullshit. If you have something against copyright, fine by me. But you can find better stuff to support it with than bogus "oh, there goes western civilization and rule of the law" arguments.
  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:11AM (#17030478) Homepage Journal
    agreement between the U.S. and Russia in which Russia has agreed to close down AllofMP3.com [CC]
    Excuse me, but when such decisions became governments' jurisdiction? Doesn't this require some investigation and then court decision? We are not even trying to _play_ democracy anymore, are we?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SkoZombie (562582)
      Governments are no longer about the will of the people, but the will of the corporations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GauteL (29207)
      Putin's Russia is hardly a democracy and anyone paying attention would have known this for quite some time.

      If you think THIS is bad, you ought to read up on all the seemingly government ordered assasinations of people opposed to Putin recently. There has been a series of high profile murders. The lesson being that "thou shalt not oppose Putin".
  • Democracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sub Zero 992 (947972) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:14AM (#17030490) Homepage
    I was going to write a post critizing the Russian government's ability to mug [bbc.co.uk], steal [guardian.co.uk], kill [hrw.org] and rob [businessweek.com] at will.

    But really, Russia is no worse than the USA, thanks to global hegemony induced TRIPS [state.gov].
  • but I hope that they don't try and give people their money back automatically, I have about 5cents on the site and if they put it back in my account I'll get charged about £1.50 for it to go back in, which will annoy me no end. I don't want a few cents back, they can happily keep them. I only worry because they did say in their agreement that they would should the site stop opperating.

    Damn exchange rates!
  • by Soloact (805735) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:21AM (#17030522) Homepage Journal
    ,... also, what's with these "agencies" of the RIAA and MPAA? They don't want to allow fair-use copying of digital media, yet, when a movie comes out on DVD, or an advertised CD is released, all of the commercials say, "Own it today". This should be considered false advertising, because one doesn't actually "own" the movie or music one buys, despite the commercials. I continue to be disgusted by their tactics.
  • by SendBot (29932)
    I just bought $40 of credit there!

    To, um... buy copies of music I have on LP and lack the means to digitize. Yeah...
  • by suparjerk (784861) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:35AM (#17030612)
    ... song pirates you!
  • From TFA "The government will be expected to begin complying by June 1, 2007."

    In other words, no need to rush to use up any credit you have bought - we have 7 months before they begin complying. And given how fast legal process work in Russia, we are most likely looking at 2008 before things get serious.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:42AM (#17030648) Journal
    What amazes me is that allofmp3 is being shutdown due to selling to Americans. It is not that they are selling "illegal" or cheap music.

    This is akin to American Gov's interest in Aljazeera. Roughly, they come down hard on it whenever they put Al Qaeda info on the English side. Interestingly, they do not mind if the info is on the main arabic site. I have seen what appears to be OBL tapes on the Arabic site, but once it is translated into English, then it gets stopped.
  • New name? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xenobyte (446878) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:45AM (#17030668)
    If the allegations about not paying for the music are correct, the people behind AllOfMP3 must have made a profit beyond belief. Sure some fund have gone to pay for servers, hosting and staff, plus some bribes I'm sure, but there must still be an enormous profit that must have made the owners incredibly rich. And if you are rich in Russia (and not on the Polonium 210 recipient waiting list) you can get away with everything, including simply moving the entire business elsewhere. So it must be just a matter of finding out what the new name will be and start shopping again.

    The real troublesome issue here is that we again have seen the US bullying another nation into line, closely aided by (MP/RI)AA. We saw it with the highly illegal raid on The Pirate Bay in Sweden which was the result of government level pressure and thus a conflict between the separated powers (trias politica). We see the same here because there has been no trial against AllOfMP3 and thus their legality has not been questioned the proper way. That is the real thing that must be stopped.
  • Possible effects (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vadim Makarov (529622) <makarov@vad1.com> on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:54AM (#17030728) Homepage
    I'm in Russia, and I am an avid and price-sensitive media consumer. So let me make a prognosis.

    1. Allofmp3.com will be closed, law or not, if the top of the government, i.e. Putin personally, orders it. Our government regularly follows such orders regardless of the law (by the way I'm not happy at all with it). The question is if Putin finds it fitting to "bow to the demands" of a foreign state, which I hope he will not, for the national pride reasons.

    2. A slower solution that would satisfy the U.S. in the internet trade would be changing our Law on Copyright and Neighboring Rights [wikisource.org]. Here it depends on the Duma, which I think will not act on this without a request from the executive branch (see above). (Even given such a request, Duma may decide to refuse to bow to external demands, or simply not see it a high priority in their lawmaking.)

    3. "Keeping raids at the same level" is not going to stop domestic sale of unlicensed disks. I often hear staff of media outlets complaining about raids and mass confiscations of their stock, but all that it has achieved by now is intermittent supply of some quality DVD copies (like DVD-9 of obscure titles), and somewhat higher prices (at most +50%).
  • Hello allofmp3.kz, or allofmp3.vu, or even allofmp3.va

    That last one would be great, I doubt even the US would have the balls to go after that government.
  • Oh, well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Petrushka (815171) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @04:58AM (#17030744)
    Oh, well. Back to P2P I guess. Shame. It was nice being legal.
  • RIAA Strikes Again (Score:4, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:11AM (#17031088) Homepage Journal
    Well, I guess this demonstrates that you're at risk of being strongarmed not just if you obtain RIAA music, but also when you sell it. And, as we all know, it doesn't matter if you're doing it legally or illegally. All in name of the artists, even if they get just a tiny share of what the cartel charges for the music.

    I've had enough.

    We don't need the copyright cartel to handle distribution and go after the pirates anymore. We definitely don't need them to set the prices, pocket most of the revenue, and randomly sue anyone who comes into contact with the music.

    So let's see a list of sites that distribute (for pay or for free) music outside of the cartel, directly on behalf of the artists. I'll only do business with sites that offer Ogg Vorbis files and that let me listen to the music before deciding if I want to buy it.

    I'll start:

    Music is Here! [musicishere.com]
    Independent Music Online [ind-music.com]
    On Classical [onclassical.com]
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @06:52AM (#17031336) Homepage
    Did allofmp3 pay a cent to artists getting downloaded? No RIAA , no DRM argument please. Lets say I downloaded David Gilmour album, did Mr. Gilmour get a cent?

    So, our right to get robbed with a fake legit site and artists not getting anything at all is broken. Very sad!

    Only thing allofmp3 has proven is: International users exist besides ~18 countries and they somehow pay for music they get. Yes, I am referencing iTunes store and "you can't buy anything at all, you are a thief!" attitude shown by Apple/RIAA/MPAA for years.

    If you really hate RIAA and you love to pay for your music, http://www.magnatunes.com/ [magnatunes.com] , 50% 50% share, quality music, FLAC, Creative Commons, no DRM.

    That is what I do besides paying to Real Networks for "radiopass" broadband radio. Paying to a shadowy Russian site knowing the artists not getting anything just to have fake legal music isn't a right of me so I didn't lose anything.
  • by zuki (845560) on Wednesday November 29, 2006 @09:56AM (#17033476) Journal
    (As a disclaimer, I will write that I have an interest in a small independent non-RIAA-affiliated record label, in existence for over 10 years, and that we pay royalties to our artists for the sales of their recordings which are a part of our catalog. Most of our music is currently available for purchase DRM-free from a variety of online sites in all formats, ranging from full-resolution .wav to low-bit rate MP3, and even AAC via iTunes Music Store.

    What would it feel like to you if one day you got notice that this overseas online store decided to start selling your whole entire catalog to customers worldwide without any permission or consent whatsoever, made from dubious (and inferior) pirated sound sources, or at best ripped from CDs if those were even commercially available, as many of AllOfMP3's customers have come to realize once they start downloading the product? This is basically what was happening, as far as I gather these people already had another earlier site which got shut down, all they did is try and exploit loopholes in Russian and international law, and leverage this to hopefully legitimize their business model by sheer brute force.

    There are several disturbing points which are not really made clearly by anyone yet, the first being that the type of income which is usually payed to ROMS (as someone already pointed out) is customarily made for the same types of payments that radio or TV stations make to the song's publishers when there is airplay, in other words some form of compulsory license which translates to a very low income figure usually set by that country's laws addressing public broadcast; this amount usually strictly only covers the publishing rights to a song. While this does (in theory) compensates the songwriters and publishers, it pays nothing whatsoever to the actual owners of the sound recording, who are not necessarily the same entities.

    In most every country, radio and TV play does not usually compensate the owners of the sound recording either, but any sale to the public stipulates that the amount payable to the owner should be negotiated in good faith between the recording's owner and the selling entity. As far as I know, there is no country in the world where someone can walk off the street and decide to start selling your music legally for whatever price they feel, just because they have unilaterally decided to grant themselves that right.

    The other part of this bit of 'truthiness' is that even if - so far - AllOfMP3 was able to skirt commonly accepted international trade practices by exploiting the murky Russian legal loopholes in question, there is no question that a number of keys point should have been respected on their part in order for them to maintain the type of legitimacy their recent PR-stunt 'email press conference' hinted they were trying to gain:
    • Although they were so far able to evade these issues due to the fact that Russian copyright law was antiquated and did not cover online sales, the sales in questions should have strictly been limited to Russian customers, not to the entire planet.... Come on, now! Many of the cutting-edge music sites like Beatport are finding that in order to get the right to sell music, they must respect territoriality, such as not selling a particular song in a certain country, as someone else already has those exclusive rights.
    • If they were in fact a pseudo-legitimate organization that was just far ahead of the times in terms of forward-thinking copyright reform, then they should have made a point of keeping in escrow a sizeable portion of their earnings, to be held in good faith until such time that an agreement would be made with the sound recordings' owners, or at least an organization representing their collective rights in Russia for the music that was already sold to this date. Not publishing.... sound recording rights.

    I well realize that similar things took places during the Gold Rush and at the time The West was

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