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RIAA Goes for the Max Against AllofMP3 777

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the go-for-the-gold dept.
Spad writes "Zeropaid is reporting that as part of its ongoing lawsuit, the RIAA will be seeking the maximum of $150,000 per song for each of the 11 million MP3s downloaded from the Russian AllofMP3.com between June and October last year. This amounts to roughly $1.65 trillion, probably a tad more than AllofMP3 has made in its lifetime. A representative of AllofMP3 stated: 'AllofMP3 understands that several U.S. record label companies filed a lawsuit against Media Services in New York. This suit is unjustified as AllofMP3 does not operate in New York. Certainly the labels are free to file any suit they wish, despite knowing full well that AllofMP3 operates legally in Russia. In the mean time, AllofMP3 plans to continue to operate legally and comply with all Russian laws.'"
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RIAA Goes for the Max Against AllofMP3

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  • Hmm? (Score:5, Funny)

    by b0lt (729408) <b0lt@ls.qc.to> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:39PM (#17426320)
    Why sue for a trillion, when you can sue for... a million?
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Teresita (982888) <badinage1@n[ ]ero dot net ['etz' in gap]> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:43PM (#17426358) Homepage
      What RIAA's lawyers didn't tell them is that they get a 5% advance against the future $1.65 trillion judgment, payable in advance and non-refundable.
    • Re:Hmm? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:45PM (#17426384)
      Why sue for a trillion, when you can sue for... a million?

      Because a trillion rubles is roughly 10 bucks.
    • ObSimpsons (Score:5, Funny)

      by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:22PM (#17427920) Homepage
      I, for one, welcome our new Trillionaire overlords.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:43PM (#17426356)
    last time I checked and considering that they cornered 45% of the space launch business and is the world's largest exporter of oil and gas, the USA needs Russia more than Russia needs the USA, so good luck to the RIAA and their money wasting tactics.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:36PM (#17426898) Journal
      the USA needs Russia more than Russia needs the USA, so good luck to the RIAA and their money wasting tactics.
      The RIAA has already won the main battle, if not the war
      11/29/2006 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061129-8315 .html [arstechnica.com]

      The short version:
      The U.S. wants Russia to join the World Trade Organization.
      One condition is that Russia changes its copyright laws.
      Russia agreed.

      Whether or not AllOfMP3 is going to get shut down by the Russian Gov't is seemingly still up in the air, but the RIAA got what they wanted: IP reform in Russia.
      • by JWW (79176) on Monday January 01, 2007 @09:51PM (#17427650)
        They may win this war, but its the wrong war. They may yet be retarded enough to lose the REAL war.

        I currently do not let my son download music illegally. He is allowed to buy off of iTunes with prepaid cards, and cannot use bittorrent, or any other p2p. Now I know someday, he'll be able to use these without my knowledge and thats fine. But what I'm doing is explaining to him why leagally obtaining music is the right thing to do. I also however expalain in detail that the RIAA is possibly the largest bunch of idiotic half wits on the entire planet. My eplaination basiclly goes "iTunes uses DRM at the behest of the music industry, but its not too invasive and can be removed simply by burning a CD and reimporting (lossy I know), but it doesn't bind the user too much and the price is reasonable (unlike Apples movies which we won't buy)". I also tell him that iTunes would lose every cent of our business if someone started selling unDRMed mp3s for the same (or lower price). Now allofmp3.com fits that bill but as this story shows, their legality is in question. But the RIAA is overplaying its hand!! (Sorry I'm going to yell and swear now, but can't help it). Those fucking bastards keep going after allofmp3, keep pressuring Apple to raise prices, and keep trying to get other sites with even worse DRM than fairplay fired up!! Dammit RIAA all you have to do to win the entire fucking market and make these same billions of dollars you sue everyone for is OFFER FUCKING DRM FREE MUSIC FROM YOUR OWN SITES AT THE PRICE APPLE HAS ALREADY DETERMINED WILL WORK!!!!! I mean I could steal everything for just a little bit more effort than buying from iTunes. I don't, I try to do whats right, but my patience is wearing thin, very thin.

        This is a warning to the RIAA, keep this shit up and you'll make it way to easy for everyone to justify stealing from you because you are just too fucking evil. And I'll tell my son stealing from you is ok too because an group of soulless, vile, repugnant, people like you don't deserve any of our money or our respect.
        • by noidentity (188756) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:44PM (#17428488)
          Please also inform your son about the difference between theft and copyright infringement.
        • How about this? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Travoltus (110240)
          Neither pirate nor purchase RIAA music.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sj0 (472011)
          It is not ethical to buy music from artists represented by RIAA member companies, by any rational ethic.

          When you pay for RIAA represented talent, you're paying for a bunch of entitled drug addicted leeches with degrees from party schools, lawsuits against grandmothers for downloading music they couldn't possibly want to listen to, and an entire industry built around the artist paying for everything and receiving a glorified loan in return, while being paid a pittiance for anything any sales outside the top
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Technician (215283)
          OFFER FUCKING DRM FREE MUSIC

          I prefer the term "Compatible music".

          My daughter has a Nano. My son has an RCA Lyra and a Creative Zen. I have a Panasonic and a Coby. The only format that works in a mixed environment and works on all my PC's including the Linux box is MP3, the format they won't sell.

          What ever happened to meeting consumer demand?

          The consumer is always right and votes with his wallet. I am not an I-tunes customer. I can't play their product anywhere except on my wife's PC.

          In other words, "Sh
  • by creimer (824291) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:43PM (#17426360) Homepage
    Let's see how many RIAA people come down with an acute case of radiation sickness. In Russia, the competition comes after you!
  • How excessive. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@@@joe-baldwin...net> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:46PM (#17426394) Homepage Journal
    $1.65trillion is a fair bit more than the GDP of Russia as a whole.

    How fucking ludicrous and excessive. Jesus.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:46PM (#17426396)
  • It is ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

    by ntufar (712060) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:46PM (#17426398) Homepage Journal
    Russia's yearly gross domestic product is $1.576 trillion [wikipedia.org]. RIAA's claim is little more than that, $1.65 trillion.
  • quadrouple dipped (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:46PM (#17426404)
    I'm all for allofmymp3 and all of it's Russian counterparts. I lost my entire cd and record collection in Katrina and it was the only was to recover my collection instead of repurchasing all of the albums again.
    I am old enough to have bought my entire collection on records, tapes, cd's and for as much as I can SACD/HD audio. I am all for contributing to the machine if the records companies release NEW, higher quality recordings in the future, but I'm not repurchasing my cd collection. I've already paid my taxes to the RIAA Gods several times over.
  • Shows the Absurdity (Score:4, Informative)

    by miyako (632510) <miyako.gmail@com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:49PM (#17426440) Homepage Journal
    I know that most of us on slashdot realize how absurd the RIAA and MPAA's claims are about the losses caused by piracy, but if this is publicized I think that it could go a long way toward aptly demonstrating the absurdity of their claims.
    I mean, I don't think anyone, except apparently the RIAA lawers, could possibly believe that in a few months- or even in a year or two, one single (not all that well known) russian website caused the RIAA to lose over a trillion dollars in revenue.
    • by kebes (861706) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:08PM (#17426612) Journal
      Indeed. According to the RIAA's stats: http://www.riaa.com/news/newsletter/pdf/2005yrEndS tats.pdf [riaa.com] (warning: PDF), the total industry is something on the order of 12 billion $US per year. How can they claim with a straight face that the *damages* are about 100 times greater than the size of the industry being damaged?

      As you said, I hope this gets publicized because it really demonstrates how ridiculous the dollar value associated with infringement really is.
      • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:21PM (#17427904)

        How can they claim with a straight face that the *damages* are about 100 times greater than the size of the industry being damaged?

        They're not claiming that at all. $150,000 wasn't a random number, nor was the fact that it was called "the maximum" in the article summary just word choice. In fact, anybody at all familiar with copyright law--even just the little trickles that make it through on sites like this--will have their ears twitch in recognition at hearing the number.

        $150,000 is the maximum allowed statutory damages according to US copyright law. It has nothing to do with how much their losses were.

        Further, realize that damages come in two parts: compensatory (what you actually lost) and punitive (punishment for the act). Punitive damages are almost always substantially higher than compensatory damages in situations like this. Even if they only claimed $11 million punitive damages ($1/download, the iTunes price), the law says they're perfectly free to claim the other $1.649+ trillion.

        Will they get that much (if they get anything)? Almost certainly not, but that doesn't stop them from asking for it.

  • trillion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Swimport (1034164) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:50PM (#17426450) Homepage
    Where do they get these numbers? This is over 10% of the GDP of the USA, and 333 times the amount gross retail music sales in 2005. I wonder if the US court will take this companies .com domains.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_music_market [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:trillion (Score:4, Insightful)

      by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:10PM (#17426634)
      Where do they get these numbers?

      They pull them out of their ass. $150k/song is complete BS. I just don't understand how a judge would look at that and be like, "Hmmm yeah that seems perfectly logical. Go with it!" AllOfMP3 should just send them 1500 Russian dog poos with a note that says something like, "We arbitrarily value each of these pieces of crap at US$1000000. We're square."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cfulmer (3166)
      "In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000." 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(2). 504(c)(1) says that this is available "with respect to any one work." Infringe 11 million works and that's $1.65T.

      Of course, they won't GET this -- the minimum damage award is $750 per work, or about $8B. (It drops to $200 if allofmp3.com proves
  • Want to bet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by (H)elix1 (231155) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:50PM (#17426454) Homepage Journal
    That when all is said and done, one of the things the RIAA will walk away with a list of customers who used the service?
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:51PM (#17426458) Homepage
    ...by repaying them with $1.65 trillion worth of Russian intellectual property.

    I'm sure the Russian government would be willing to make an official valuation of the complete works of Joseph Stalin as worth $1.65 trillion.

    Then AllofMP3 could repay the RIAA by licensing them to the RIAA.

    Problem solved.

    Imagine downloading the audiobook version from the iTunes Music Store.
  • by rlp (11898) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:57PM (#17426510)
    This amounts to roughly $1.65 trillion

    Proof once again that the RIAA is run by Dr. Evil.
  • Hmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:03PM (#17426578)
    THEIR SUING POWER IS OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:12PM (#17426664) Journal
    A hilarious response would be if the Russian government would now confirm that Allofmp3 operated within the country's laws.
  • Screw them both. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by remove office (871398) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:18PM (#17426720) Homepage
    Okay, it's gonna be unpopular and I'll get modded as a troll probably, but I've got to say it.

    I'm not a big fan of the RIAA, but I'm also not a big fan of AllofMP3. Yes, it's legal in Russia (through a loophole in radio licensing they're trying to close), but not here in the US.

    A ton of Slashdotters use it because they think it's a good business model and they feel like they're doing something legal because they're paying for music. Sure it's a nice business model- the way they calculate the price you pay by measuring the amount you're downloading in MBs, but they money that goes to AllofMP3 doesn't end up in the artist's hands any more than it does when you pay money to a record label by buying music on a CD here in the USA (in fact less: none to be exact). Sure, you can complain all you want about the evil RIAA and how they don't give enough money to artists, and boycott them all you like. But the truth is artists get NO money from AllofMP3 (instead of an unfair tiny amount from the RIAA). They're just profiting off of other people's work. Like the RIAA but worse. Instead of a tiny amount of money going to the artists, the moeny goes instead entirely to the proprietors of AllofMP3 (who are rumored to be connected to the Russian mafia, by the way).
    • Re:Screw them both. (Score:5, Informative)

      by ColaMan (37550) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:40PM (#17426936) Homepage Journal
      AllOfMP3 gives their required amount as required by Russian law to the Russian equivalent of the RIAA, who then is supposed to distribute it to all the needy artists under their wing. While the method is considered a loophole as such, it's still perfectly legal under Russian law.

      And I believe the Record Industry Association of America is just a little bit out of it's jurisdiction here. Hence the stupid filing in an American court. Try that kind of scare tactic in Russia and as people have already mentioned, AllOfMP3 would simply pay the local mafia a small sum to make the problem.... disappear.

    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:44PM (#17426996) Journal
      Not a troll, you have a valid point, but I'm curious which of the two would you rather we support?

      From the information on their website, it appears that they pay a fixed percentage of sales to royalties. Registered artists, I presume, get royaties - I haven't looked into their financials, so I can't verify that. I don't read Russian either, so I probably couldn't figure it out even if I had the paperwork. The RIAA doesn't like the terms, so they don't want to play. Artists don't enter into it - they don't own their work. IF they did, they could hire a lawyer to do the paperwork, and get their money.

      On a personal, philosophical level...

      I'm all for compulsory licensing of any published creative work. Don't want it available? Don't publish it.

      This would "fix" the Disney vault problem, and allow works to be re-published for a fixed fee. Presumably, original content owners could still create premium content by republishing with value added features. Most of the movie houses already re-release a title several times to get people to re-buy.

      As for starving artists, I say get off you lazy asses, out of the studio, and go entertain in person. If your contract forbids such work...well, you signed the contract, yo ulive with the consequences. If you don't like it, go work 9-5 like everyone else. You're not required to make music to live.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Technician (215283)


      A ton of Slashdotters use it because they think it's a good business model and they feel like they're doing something legal


      And many ignore that even if pirate CD's (physical ones) are legal in some country, importing them into the US is not legal. Even if All of MP3 is legal in russis, Importing the MP3's into the US is not legal. There are import restrictions on imported pirated materials.

      The question is, "Is the lawsuit proper against the AllofMP3?". I think the real lawsuit should be against the ille
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        They're not pirated. If you buy something legally in russia, using rubles, then it's your property. What the US thinks doesn't mean diddlysquat.

        Importing your own property is legal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Macthorpe (960048)
        Straight from AllofMP3:

        "Is it legal to use the AllOfMP3 pay service in the United States (US)?

        Although to our knowledge there is no direct precedent on the legality of accessing a service like ours from the US (i.e., using a legal music download service located outside of the US), we, however, do believe that there are at least several statutes, each of which, should allow users to access our service in the US; such as 17 U.S.C. 602(a) (the "Importation for Private Use Exception"); 1008, 1001 (the "iPod Ex
    • by SkeptiNerd75 (85087) on Monday January 01, 2007 @09:02PM (#17427204)
      I'm not a big fan of the RIAA, but I'm also not a big fan of AllofMP3. Yes, it's legal in Russia (through a loophole in radio licensing they're trying to close), but not here in the US.

      Let me get this straight. When a company moves its manufacturing division from the U.S. to Malaysia to take advantage of the industry-friendly labour laws in that country, they're applauded for their ingenuity. On the other hand, when U.S. consumers take advantage of consumer-friendly copyright laws overseas, they're criminals.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by leuk_he (194174)
      If the RIAA wins with a default trail. (possible) then allofmp3 owes an absurd amount of money to the RIAA. There is the problem that they might not actually have that kind of money. However, If an USA artist has an song on allofmp3, could not a new york artist sue RIAA for the money RIAA should collect for the artist? because RIAA should give that money to the artist? not? 150.000 dollar is a lot of money for some songs! and the nice thing is that RIAA is located in the US of A, where USA artist coudl sue
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:29PM (#17426812)
    Surely the "R" doesn't stand for "Recording". Must be for "Racketeering"

    The Racketeering Industry Association of America. Thats more like it.

  • by heretic108 (454817) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:32PM (#17426848)
    Anyone want to speculate that RIAA might start taking action against credit card companies who process payments to websites such as AllOfMP3.com?

    If AllOfMP3.com gets shut down permanently, another cheap MP3 site can just spring up in its place.

    But if credit card companies are ordered to block payments to such sites, and regularly updated about each new naughty 'infringing' site, that just might start to seriously disrupt the business models of such sites.

  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:34PM (#17426880) Homepage
    So why isn't the RIAA suing the RIAA equivalent body that AllofMP3 paid fees to, you know, the ones who are supposed to be taking care of all of the copyright stuff? Russian law dictates that AllofMP3 go through that body, which they did. If RIAA has a problem, they need to address it there.
    • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:34PM (#17427998) Journal
      Because then the RIAA might actually get the fees. Don't mod me funny yet -- I'm serious. ROMS is supposed to hold the fees for the rights holder (in this case the RIAA). Both ROMS and Allofmp3.com have publicly stated that, upon proof of rights ownership, ROMS will release the royalities.

      Of course, from the RIAA's perspective this would be bad -- since then they wouldn't have a case against Allofmp3.com. They stand to (at least they think they stand to) make more money by suing.

      Like all gambling though -- they might end up with nothing instead of just less than they wanted...
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:45PM (#17427010)
    Let's be blunt here, that biz makes money, so it's likely that those guys have their fingers in it. Now, when you've tried to shut down a Spammer or a trojan host based in Russia, you know that you're fighting windmills. Because ... well, guess whose they are?

    I've had my share of 'fights' with them, so I know they are a formidable enemy. And I can only hope that they are behind AAMP3, too. Because then, we'll see what happens when two criminal cartels clash.

    I'll bring the popcorn.
  • Jurisdiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ardipithecus (985280) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:46PM (#17427022)
    It's great that an American company can go to an American court and sue someone on the other side of the globe, who must either respond at great expense or lose by default and be subject to whatever these creeps can attach.

    What happens when someone, prone to mischief and with re$ources, sues these monkeys for say $2T at the 3rd Circuit Court in Mogadishu.

    Fantasy, yes, but imagine a court seizing Disneyland in Japan and France to pay for some judgment, as funky as the one that we will see here.

  • by owlnation (858981) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:46PM (#17427024)
    ...that the Russian response was something along the lines of:

    Xa,Xa,Xa,Xa,Xa,Xa....!!!!
  • by straponego (521991) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:52PM (#17427112)
    Yet I think that not even the deffest of jams merits compensation sufficient for an interstellar platinum plated Hummer-- which I can get you, for $1.65 trillion, I promise. Heck, I'll to it for half that. But I need it up front.
  • by gurutechanimal (629949) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [lepsog_tsiehta]> on Monday January 01, 2007 @09:24PM (#17427420) Homepage
    American corporations love doing business in countries where labor laws are lax. They do business where labor laws are lax because they can work people there in ways that would be illegal to do so in the United States. The corporations would call this "globalization" and point the great benefits of the "global economy" at work.

    American corporations also like to do business in countries where organized dissent to their activities is suppressed by "friendly" governments (friendly to their interests, that is). They do so because organized dissent is legal in the United States and has on more than one occasion 1) aired the corp's dirty laundry, 2) stopped them from performing harmful (but profitable) acts, and 3) called for the corp's to strike a balance between shareholder value and respect for the laws of the country in which they live.

    What does all of this have to do with AllOfMP3? Well, American corporations have a long record of doing business (and making bundles of money) by going to places where they aren't restrained by such trite formalities as "laws". American corporations love to extol the virtues of the "global economy", just as long as they're the ones who benefit from it; after all, transnational capital alone should benefit from international business.

    But for some reason, the average Joe using the internet to do THE EXACT SAME THING that American corporations have been doing for years is deemed wrong, illegal, unethical, and Lord knows how many other bad things. The average Joe who buys a song from AllOfMP3 is engaging in exactly the same type of transaction that corp's have done for years: gain financial advantage by offshoring their transactions.

    Am I oversimplifying? Maybe. But chew on this: Either we have a global market (as we are told that we have as our jobs are outsourced), or we don't. And if we do have a global market, the rules were written long ago by the same people that are trying to stop us from following them.
  • by CharonX (522492) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:35PM (#17428030) Journal
    Well, if Russia changes its laws so that AllOfMP3's service becomes illegal... the RIAA can't sue for alleged moetary losses before it became illegal, as there was no law to make it illegal before.
    It would be like if the US made recycling of lightbulbs mandatory (giving the lightbulb-makers the right to sue you if you didn't bring broken lightbulbs) and then the lightbulbmakers try to sue you because you threw away a lightbulb ten years ago (instead of recycling it). You cannot break laws retroactively. Even if the lightbulbmakers ran big campaigns and threatened to sue you if you don't recycle those lightbulbs, they cannot sue you for doing something in the past that now would break the law.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @12:12AM (#17428640) Homepage

    This points out one of the problems with an economy based on brain share products. Valuation. You may be able to get a dollar for it in the US but only a penny in Russia. How are you ever going to enforce valuation in another economy when the product doesn't have intrinsic value based on hard assets? It's insane to even try, but insanity doesn't stop the recording industry.

    Companies can get away with it here because our Congress is corrupt and we're wealthy. It doesn't bother us to spend 10 bucks on a CD, but that's a week's pay in some places. Same principle applies to movies, software and most entertainment products.

    The day will come when one of these countries we're into for a couple hundred billion in trade deficit, maybe a country that provides most of our manufacturing is going to call bullshit.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @12:42AM (#17428848)
    They've gone from regular villainy to cartoonish super-villainy.
  • by dircha (893383) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @03:32AM (#17429602)
    They are, as explicitly stated by law, NOT limited to actual damages, NOT limited to actual number of infringing copies, NOT even a function of actual damages.

    The law is completely absurd, and this case proves it. Who in their right mind could support this?

    This is absurd on the level of sentencing someone to death for stealing a candy bar from a convenience store.

    Just societies are founded on the principle of proportionality of punishment: the punishment must fit the crime.

    The RIAA doesn't dare sue for the full amount against U.S. citizens, because they know that the day a college student is fined a billion dollars for sharing mp3s, is the day that this law is overturned.

    No sane person would tolerate this, one hopes.

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