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Russian Music Site Offering Legal Songs By The MB 614

An anonymous reader writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting on a Russian Music site that is offering legal digital music by the MB. The site apparently has a license from the Russian Music authorities to legally distribute songs for a fraction of the price of what is being offered by iTunes and others. The report from SMH is here. Amazingly, the site offers files in any format and encoding you choose and rips it on the fly. Notifications by email follow when the songs are ready for download. Sounds a little to good to be true :)"
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Russian Music Site Offering Legal Songs By The MB

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  • Dunno why no link (Score:5, Informative)

    by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:30AM (#8994763)
    click me []
  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by p0ppe ( 246551 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:32AM (#8994768) Homepage

    Been using their services for half a year now without any problems. They're licenced with the Russian equivalent of the RIAA, so I don't see where the problem is.

    This is a great example of the free market combined with the internet. I'm able to buy goods and services from wherever it suits me.
    • (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rico_za ( 702279 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:49AM (#8994861)
      This is a great example of the free market combined with the internet. I'm able to buy goods and services from wherever it suits me.

      That's exactly the same argument that can be used for outsourcing IT jobs. You can't have it both ways people! You can't have your cheap consumer economy in the US, and still want your jobs protected. Why not complain about the poor music industry jobs that are being "outsourced" to Russia?
      • (Score:5, Interesting)

        by etymxris ( 121288 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:12AM (#8994960)
        I don't complain of either personally. Outsourcing is fine for both consumers and businesses in my book.

        As has been said many times before, not all of slashdot speaks with one voice. When you see those topics with 800-2000 comments, it's because there is significant disagreement. If everyone agreed, there wouldn't be much to say.

        You are right that there can be a certain hypocricy in saying that consumers should be able to get cheap wares from Russian markets, yet that our jobs should not be outsourced there. However, the charitable thing to do is to assume that no one holds both those positions until seeing someone that does. What makes you think otherwise?
      • (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Epistax ( 544591 )
        I have no problem with the outsourcing and I completely agree with it. Hell I'm a computer engineer. If my job gets outsourced to India or whatever, I'll just go there and work. This same argument can be made state to state as country to country. Jobs are taken from a state so it becomes less populated (I'm from Maine). Jobs are taken from a country so it becomes less populated.

        So... c-ya! (after I graduate :P)
      • by Idou ( 572394 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:17AM (#8994986) Journal
        the poster is against outsourcing? Slashdot is a diverse group of individuals voicing their diverse opinions, which all conflict. I am tired of individuals saying "gotcha" when two completely SEPARATE individuals voice CONFLICTING opinions. Btw, if ALL prices (not just wages) were to drop at the same rate, then, yes, nobody would be complaining about outsourcing. The problem is that there are market inefficiencies that are keeping some prices the same while others go down.
      • (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mattsson ( 105422 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:54AM (#8995162) Journal
        Yes, some jobs are created in russia instead of the US in the music-sales sector and the IT-sector.
        But most of the jobs related to the song that's being downloaded have little or nothing to do with where in the world the song is being sold.
        This is no different than buying a record while on vacation, buying a record from another country over the net or buying something from iTunes while not being a US citizen.
        • (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TopShelf ( 92521 )
          You have an excellent point; what is being potentially "outsourced" (the new name for an old practice) is the distribution of music, not it's creation. Just another example of the music industry not understanding that the genie is already out of the bottle...
      • (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gl4ss ( 559668 )
        it would seem to me that the ones doing the outsourcing are the biggest complainers about services like allofmp3.

      • (Score:3, Interesting)

        by adrianbaugh ( 696007 )
        It's beautiful. The price pressure on goods leads to outsourcing of jobs, which leads to pressure on wages in order to compete, which leads to... One vicious circle later and the average wage in the US will be no higher than the average wage in urban China. But it won't matter, because everything will be so cheap.
      • (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theLOUDroom ( 556455 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:55AM (#8995666)
        That's exactly the same argument that can be used for outsourcing IT jobs. You can't have it both ways people! You can't have your cheap consumer economy in the US, and still want your jobs protected. Why not complain about the poor music industry jobs that are being "outsourced" to Russia?

        NO, this is not like outsourcing.
        What this is doing is using the industry's geographical price discrimitation against them.

        They might charge $10 for a widget in the US and only $4 in Cambodia, so what's happening here it that the same goods are still being purchased from the same company, it's just the geographic price discrimination is being avoided.

        Incidentally price controls like this are illegal in the US, it's just that nobody exists to deal with them on an internaional level. Thus, you can ship a DVD that won't play in Korea, but not one which won't play in Kentucky.
        • (Score:3, Informative)

          by Fancia ( 710007 )
          In this case, it's not from the same company. ROMS, the Russian Organization for Multimedia and digital Systems, deals directly with artists. The royalties don't go to the record labels. It's due to a quirk in Russian copyright law; ROMS automatically has all intellectual property rights and can license them, and is required to pay most of that money to the *artists,* not to the record labels the artists may have licensed to elsewhere in the world.
      • (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bankman ( 136859 )
        This is a great example of the free market combined with the internet. I'm able to buy goods and services from wherever it suits me.

        That's exactly the same argument that can be used for outsourcing IT jobs. You can't have it both ways people! You can't have your cheap consumer economy in the US, and still want your jobs protected. Why not complain about the poor music industry jobs that are being "outsourced" to Russia?

        At some point you might want to read something about the concept of Comparative Adva

    • ...but rather ROMS, the Russian equivalent of ASCAP/BMI. Like a radio station, they pay money to the authors/composers association and sidestep the record companies altogether. Also like a radio station, there is no way that an individual record company can keep their work off their service.
  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:33AM (#8994773) Homepage Journal
    I dunno, having "Russia" and "legal" in the same sentence leaves me a bit ... skeptical.

    Besides, in post-Soviet Russia, the songs MegaByte You!


  • by hanssprudel ( 323035 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:34AM (#8994775)
    It doesn't rip it on the fly, it encodes it on the fly. Big difference (thousands of CD-ROMs???)

    More importantly, has anybody tried this? I found it many months ago, but I am loath to send my credit card data to a semi-shady Russian site, and I am worried that credit card records could be used to go after people who used the site when it (inevitably) gets shut down eventually. What do people think?
    • by Hakubi_Washu ( 594267 ) < minus berry> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:37AM (#8994800)
      Why not put PayPal inbetween? That way you can't be charged... (I use PayPal exclusively, because I don't have a creditcard, they're not that common over here in germany :-)
    • Re:Credit Card? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gryffin ( 86893 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:49AM (#8994862) Homepage
      More importantly, has anybody tried this?

      A lot of people, apparently. Including me. I've been very happy with it.

      I am loath to send my credit card data to a semi-shady Russian site

      I don't think they even accept credit cards directly; at least, I don't recall seeing that option when I signed up.

      I signed up using PayPal. That's one reason I took the plunge: a (more or less) reputable American intermediary for the financial end. I have a balance, that's deducted from for each download. When it's near empty, I go to PayPal and fill 'er up again. It's pretty painless.

    • There's got to be rip-on-the-fly functionality in there too, as well as encode-on-the-fly, because in no way could any sane operation pre-rip every known CD.

      Their hard disk storage is probably configured as an intermediate cache (well that's how I'd do it anyway), with cache-load requests coming up on the monitors of a bunch of unskilled temp employees who have the task of loading newly requested CDs into the racks of CDROM drives, ejecting the LRU CD as instructed.

      And even this group of people probably f
    • by drudd ( 43032 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:52AM (#8995143)
      My wife and I have used it for several months now, and have been very happy (although lately the servers seem to be overloaded too often).

      The funny thing is, after we put the first amount on our credit card, Citibank called up to make sure that the charge was legit. Then when we put more money on a few months later, they called again! I guess Citibank just can't believe people might purchase stuff from a Russian company :)

      • by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:07AM (#8995255) Journal
        Actually, if my credit card was ripped off, I would assume that downloading online music would be a preferred activity. Why use my credit card to buy CDs from the HMV at the mall when I can go to a website and download 10x the amount? Also, i might get ~physically~ caught at a mall.

        I'm sure Citibank isn't skeptical of the company itself per se, more that you've changed your buying habits to purchase something internationally.

        BTW, this can be bad from a precedent setting perspective. Citibank will (eventually) adjust its fraud-detection settings for your account, so the next time a questionable internet-based Russian purchase happens it might not trigger a flag.
    • by fingerfucker ( 740769 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:13AM (#8995301)

      Use the "one-time disposable credit card number generation" service provided by your bank. Citi has it, MBNA has it, Discover has it, AmEx has it, almost everyone these days has it.

      The way it works, you log in, specify the maximum amount to charge and set your own expiration date per your wish. A credit card number from a static pool is given to you and associated with the amount and your billing information for the period of time until expiration. After that, the number is useless. The number also becomes useless once you use it to charge up to the amount that you specified (i.e. exhaust your "quota" on that number). They typically even generate the CVV code for you, should you ever need it, so it works pretty well.

  • by tomknight ( 190939 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:34AM (#8994781) Homepage Journal
    And here's where we do them the service of testing their bandwidth ;-)


  • The price is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NSash ( 711724 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:35AM (#8994787) Journal
    $5 for 500 megabytes. Now this is more like it.
  • by ILL Robinson ( 228744 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:35AM (#8994788) has now become shovelware!
  • seems legal (Score:5, Informative)

    by VC ( 89143 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:37AM (#8994796)
    Considering that the RIAA sued weblisten [] for RE-distributing's content, but didnt sue them, this is probably legal..
    • Re:seems legal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by golgotha007 ( 62687 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:18AM (#8995900)
      the RIAA and MPAA has zero jurisdiction here in Russia. why do you think piracy is as bad here as in the Asian countries? i would not be surprised if license is made up and bogus, as it is not needed.

      every street corner has CD shops loaded with the latest games, apps and music.

      they also package MP3 CD's which is loaded with albums, lyrics and CD art. each CD is 65 roubles, which is about $2

      very strange to see this story; i am currently working on getting credit card functionality for my mp3 distribution engine. my site is at least a month before seeing production, but the site will be 100 percent in english, has a beyond amazing collection (just under a terrabyte) and offers each song for a penny.

      the thing slowing me down is getting a merchant account here in Russia that will allow me to do credit card transfers.
  • Shady spelling (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zagar ( 610861 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:37AM (#8994801)
    Dear users!
    We proud to announce a new encoding function called Online Encoding Exclusive, which is a part of the "Online Encoding" service and became available at in the test mode. Online Encoding Exclusive enables you to:

    1. Encode music with LossLess encoding algorithms (Monkey's Audio, FLAC and OptimFrog) using the data of original audio CD as a source.
    2. Encode music with our usual encoders (MP3, Ogg, etc.) using the data of original audio CD as a source.

    Albums, that available for ordering through Online Encoding Exclusive service are marked with a special label . The amount of such albums will grow from day to day. We hope that you'll enjoy our new service.

    More details about Online Encoding Exclusive service. team.
    • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:01AM (#8995207) Homepage
      Given that the site is located in Russia, it is (or at least was originally) probably intended mainly for Russian users. I doubt any of the service administrators speak native English. Think how you'd feel if you had a site in English and Russian, and Russian users called it "shady" because your Russian was bad. Then think again on your comment.
  • Not legal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Lyngshede ( 623138 ) <.kd.lesaewecips. .ta. .nomis.> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:39AM (#8994807) Homepage isn't legal, it migth be in Russia, but that doesn't mean that people outside russia can buy from them legally. If they wish to tell to say Denmark, they must have an agreement with KODA (Danish RIAA), THEY DON'T. Same deal as with Spanish weblisten, legal in Spain, not outside.

    It might be a nice service, but I won't recommend using it. If they do not have a deal with the RIAA equivalent in what ever country you're in, it is a waste of money.

    Don't trust sites that sell music that doesn't have an agreement with a record label or the artists.
    • Re:Not legal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cred ( 754775 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:50AM (#8994867) Journal
      I'm no expert on the matter but if I buy a CD from Russia that's $15 cheaper than in my country, do I have to pay again to the local RIAA just because I got it cheaper? Does it make the record illegal if I got it cheaper from Russia? No. If I buy legal online music from Russia instead say.. iTunes, does it make the songs illegal? I doubt. Why would it be? The only reason what I really can come up is RIAA way of thinking "it's never too expensive".
      • Re:Not legal (Score:4, Insightful)

        by laird ( 2705 ) <lairdp@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:00AM (#8995717) Journal
        "I'm no expert on the matter but if I buy a CD from Russia that's $15 cheaper than in my country, do I have to pay again to the local RIAA just because I got it cheaper? ... If I buy legal online music from Russia instead say.. iTunes, does it make the songs illegal?"

        It's not a matter of pricing being lower in Russia; the site is pretty obviously illegal. Many of the artists whose work is being sold (e.g. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin) have never agreed to have their work sold digitally, which is why you can't find their music on any legitimate music download service. And of course, if they're selling music for a few cents a track, they're not paying the artists and composers for the recordings.

        Even if it were legal in Russia (which it clearly isn't) they clearly wouldn't have the right to sell that music anywhere else, since the companies that have the Russian rights to the music aren't the same as the companies that have the US rights, and those rights are exclusive. So even if the Russian company decided to sell music for almost nothing, they couldn't sell it to US customers, etc. This legal issue is why iTunes only sells to US customers, etc. -- to do things legally, you have to negotiate the rights to sell the music country by country.
    • Re:Not legal (Score:3, Informative)

      by G-funk ( 22712 )
      I can buy music from anywhere I like, and parallel importation has been legal in australia for about 10 years now, ACCC ruled it unfair for ARIA to be the only ones allowed to import music.
    • Re:Not legal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:59AM (#8994903) Journal

      But the Berne Convention (and others) covers copyright between nations (ie: protect ours this, that, and the other-way and we'll protect yours the same). If I buy from Russia -- and its legal in russia -- than I can import it into my own country. Nothing is the matter.

      Here is the real problem: Copyright is an outdated and broken concept, with all manner of issues involved now that physical scarcity of music has ended. Outside of oppressive cabals rigging the market (Koda/RIAA etc), how do you expect this all to work? It costs nothing to move $intellectual-property, so geography is irrelevant. It costs nothing to manufacture (cp mysong.wav yoursong.wav;wget

      This hodge-podge of nonsense is collapsing under its own stupidity... and I say good. Its high time The People got to enjoy the benefits of our technological advances.

      • Re:Not legal (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sir_cello ( 634395 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:08AM (#8995263)
        Nice rant, but you don't know what you are talking about.

        (a) the Berne Convention does provide for national treatment, but typically the owner of the copyright is the first marketer _in the respective territory_, which means that although the song Russia is technically the same as the copy original provided from the parent company in the US, it is actually (in legal terms) an entirely different one because two separate legal personalities in the US and Russia own the copyright in the respective songs: so the US owner cannot ligitate against someone who copies the Russian version (capice?), nor can the Russian owner litigate against someone who copies the US version. Remember that in the case of copyright infringement, you have to _prove_ an act of copying, and thus a _chain of copies_ leading back to the original version that was infringed.

        The Berne Convention does offer a "thirty-day" window in which if you publish in several countries during that period, then the owner of the work _is_ the single owner. This means that if the US owner had also published in Russia within 30 days of the release of the song, then they would own the copyright in the work, and could litigate against the Russian copyists.

        (b) Copyright is not outdated: firstly, it costs time, effort and money to make these musical works: so the creators deserve to own rights in those works. This fundamental concept is never going to change. You say "it costs nothing to manufacture" - umm, how do you account for the costs of studios, equipment, people's time and effort, etc ? Sure it costs nothing to make _a copy_ of the first original copy of the work recorded in the studio, but it still costs a lot to make that first copy.

    • VERY LEGAL. (Score:5, Informative)

      by scum-e-bag ( 211846 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:12AM (#8994958) Homepage Journal isn't legal, it migth be in Russia, but that doesn't mean that people outside russia can buy from them legally.

      If you live in Australia, where the article is written, then it is legal The parallel importing of music is legal in Australia. The parallel importing of music helps keep the price down and is evidence of a free market economy working well, unlike the USA with the BSA and MPAA and RIAA and other IP outfits where these gestapo like organisations control the free flow of information.

      We can't see any legal or moral objection to using the site. We're using the material for private use, there is no restriction in this country on the parallel importing of recorded music and none of the artists seem to have been deprived of their rights.
    • Re:Not legal (Score:4, Informative)

      by misterpies ( 632880 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:17AM (#8994984)
      This might be what the RIAA and equivalents want you to think, but it's not the law. The reason is the "first sale" doctrine of copyright law. Once a song has been legally marketed & sold, then the copyright owner loses most rights over resale/reimportation. E.g. If you go to a Russian music store and buy a bunch of cheap (legal) CDs, then you don't need the RIAA's permission to bring those CDs back into the US. The copyright in that CD, at least as far as the right to profit from its sale, has been exhausted. Similarly, if you go to Russia and legally download a lot of songs to your laptop from a Russian website, you can bring those songs back to the US.

      Now the difference here is that you're actually buying the songs on a Russian website without leaving the US. But legally, that doesn't really matter - it's pretty clear that for long-distance transactions, the transaction takes place at the point where it is received, not where it is sent. E.g. if you order something by phone or fax, the transaction takes place where the call/fax is received. There seems to be no reason why this should be different on the internet though I can't pretend to have checked if there are any cases on it.

      Of course, it's pretty clear what will happen. All the US record labels will change their licensing deals in Russia to prevent services like these being offered - i.e. it will be a breach of's license for them to sell songs outside to people based outside Russia. In other words, exactly the same deal iTunes reached with the record labels that stops them selling songs outside the US. So better get your MP3s from Russia while you still can
      • Re:Not legal (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:55AM (#8995165) Homepage
        This might be what the RIAA and equivalents want you to think, but it's not the law.

        As it happens, in the US it is indeed the law.

        Once a song has been legally marketed & sold, then the copyright owner loses most rights over resale/reimportation.

        That's not quite right, actually.

        First sale deals with specific copies. The copies need to have been made in a manner that would be legal if they were made in the US, regardless of the legality under foreign law.

        So if Perry Como makes a punk rock record and sells it, anyone can then turn around and resell it. If he sold it in the UK, then you can import it into the US, no problem.

        However, if you copy it and get a second record, assuming the copying isn't legal (per 17 USC 107 or 1008 or whatever) then you CAN'T resell the second record under the first sale provision (109).

        Likewise, if Perry sold his rights in the UK to his close friend Sid Vicious, and Sid was the one making copies in the UK, you couldn't -- as a matter of first sale -- import those copies into the US. There is a good reason for that.

        Imagine that there was a small country that bordered the US and could easily ship stuff here. We'll call it Moosylvania. Further, imagine that Moosylvania has no copyright laws at all. This means it's legal for the locals to copy anything they want. If they could freely export it to the US, they'd just do an end run around our copyright laws, and everyone would buy cheap, unauthorized Moosylvanian copies, basically leaving the US copyright holders screwed.

        So, for first sale to apply, the copyright holder who made the copy has to be the US copyright holder. If that's not so, even though the copy was made legally over there, it won't qualify, because it would not have been made legally if it had been made over here.

        Some degree of importation despite first sale is still allowed under 602. But importation is very clearly the bringing of things from one country into another country. It is, you'll agree, NOT the same as making new things in a country that are based on those in another country. For example, I could import a Scottish castle, but that would involve taking it apart brick by brick, mailing the bricks here, and putting it back together again. If I built an exact replica, and the original is still in Scotland, then I didn't import it, I reproduced it.

        When you download from this site, there is a master copy in Russia. At the end of the process, there is a master copy in Russia AND a copy on your hard drive. That's two copies, and that already indicates that it's not an import. And the copyright holder has the exclusive right to reproduce his work in the US per 106.

        So it's not legal for Americans to use this site here. Ironically, it probably would be legal to use the site in Russia, provided that the provisions of 602 were complied with (as noted, first sale would likely not apply) when you brought the copies back in, but I expect few /.ers are going to be doing that.
        • Re:Not legal (Score:3, Interesting)

          However, if you copy it and get a second record, assuming the copying isn't legal (per 17 USC 107 or 1008 or whatever) then you CAN'T resell the second record under the first sale provision (109).

          Problem one, you assume the copying isn't legal. The fact is, there's the equivalent of two copying going on. Labels are selling music to allofmp3 and allofmp3 is selling songs to you. The slight difference is more than likely allofmp3 isn't actually getting source copies from the label each time but has some
    • Re:Not legal (Score:5, Informative)

      by guiscard ( 712813 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:24AM (#8995021)

      And from this [] Guardian article:

      The problem is that, according to the recording industry, these sites are breaking the law. As Alan Dixon, general counsel of the London-based International Federation of the Phonograph Industry, says of Weblisten: "They have not less than six lawsuits pending against them, and two criminal proceedings. They are taking advantage of the way the Spanish legal system moves incredibly slowly: they have never been declared as legitimately distributing the plaintiff's recording."

      The issue is that recorded music has three sets of rights to be argued over. The songwriter has the copyright to the song, the artist his own rights in it, and the record label and producers a third set. While these Russian and Spanish sites may be paying the songwriters, via a collection agency, they are acting without the permission of the other copyright holders.

      The Russian sites claim that, under Russian law, foreign record labels releasing music in Russia give up their rights to prevent this. Not so, says Dixon. Such Soviet-era rules were rescinded under "article 47 paragraph 2 of the Russian Copyright Code" years ago. Downloading from such sites would be infringing both British and Russian copyright law, he says.
    • Moral Legal (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Morgaine ( 4316 )
      Several people here have already addressed the issue of legality in their countries by pointing out that parallel imports are legal for them. Unfortunately, this would seem to leave everyone else doing something illegal under their local law, if that were the end of the story. But it is not.

      What is "legal" is not necesssarily right or moral, and the actions of the RIAA and its cohorts definitely places them in the wrong. It is not the same world today as it was back in the days of vinyl, yet the cartels
    • You agree with the fact that you are not able to use and even to download audio and video materials from catalogue if it is in the conflict with legislation of your country. Administration is unable to control all users, therefore the users are responsible for usage of the materials represented on the Site.

      So basically they leave it up to you to figure out if you are breaking the law or not. IANAL, but it sounds like the RIAA would definitely fine me for DLing musi
  • by jaxon6 ( 104115 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:40AM (#8994817)
    Oh you rat bastards. I thought I had a good thing going. I was getting all the music I wanted for cheap, and the site was under the radar enough not to upset the sue-happy music bizfolk. Now my speeds are going to be shot, the company is going to be closed, and I'll have to go back to buying my four cds a year. So, once again slashdot screws me. To that I say fuck you very much.

    Oh ya, I almost forgot. I found out about them from a slasdot post of somebodys. So, uhh, forget what I just said.
    • Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

      by poptones ( 653660 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:25AM (#8995979) Journal
      I've posted about them several times. I also like to point out that I regularly buy Russian music CDs from an importer in NY, and each of those CDs costs me all of 6 bucks. So for those trolls saying "these aren't legal" then I offer you this: how is an importer able to get away with selling these physical goods in the US?

      The big RIAA labels all have a presence over there. My fave artist, Linda, has had a record contract with (I believe) BMG for quite some time. She regularly appears on Russian MTV and there was even an English language version of "Vorona" ("Crow") made for (always impending) US release. And remember TATU?

      So, if these labels are so insistent that there is no money to be made in a country where lax copyright controls exist, why (and how) have they retained a presence in a country where nearly two thirds of all content sold in stores is "pirated?"

      From Tatu's own website, these figures:

      February 2002 - Universal Music Russia releases an enlarged edition of the album "200 in the opposite direction" with a new design and with a new track "Clowns". The song "Clowns" appears regularly on the "Russian Radio", "Dynamite FM", "Hit-FM" and "Europe +".

      March 2002 - re-release of the album "200kph in the wrong lane" beats all the records during the first week of sales: 60,000 of legal copies sold!

      Now the number of sold copies of the TATU albums is about 1,100,000!

      60,000 "lega" copies out of more than a Million are sold, and Universal seems to have no problem with betting on this horse... meanwhile, here in the US, laws keep getting passed...

      Russia is not the problem here. The US is the problem. and I hope sites like this continue to prosper, and it demolishes the US entertainment industry. After all, "constructive destruction" is what capitalism is all about. How ironic these "capitalists" seem only able to realize this lesson at the hands of a formerly soviet socialist state.

  • by evil_roy ( 241455 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:41AM (#8994820)
    If you think that then you must live in some authoritarian state like ....

    Who'd have thought it... Russia..the home of the brave and the free.
    • The home of stealing goods from other people, selling it against their will, and calling "legal" just because you give them a little back.

      I seem to recall a raging black market and powerful mafia in Russia back in the soviet days. It's good to know that pioneering spirit is still alive.
  • Nothing new here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:42AM (#8994828)
    I've been using another service from Russia, MP3 Search Club [] with great success for some time now. Frankly, I'm surprised this qualifies as news. This service, too, is liscenced by the "Russian RIAA". As a Canadian, I find this site an invaluable compliment to my right to make personal copies of music to share with others. ;-P Given, though, that this other site lets you encode in your favorite format, I'll probably soon switch over to them.
  • by nutcracker666 ( 641676 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:42AM (#8994831)
    I am afraid I am too old to have heard of "The MB" so why would I want their music ? Are they one of those new-fangled rap / hip-hop groups ? All I can think of is The Moody Blues.
  • by GraZZ ( 9716 ) * <jack&jackmaninov,ca> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:43AM (#8994837) Homepage Journal
    They Legal Info page on has changed since I first started using the site (great service, they're definately NOT stealing credit card info), but the gist of their old legal page is that they were paying license fees as if they were broadcasting their music over radio; hence the license fee per song for them is probably less than a penny.

    The best part about the site? After getting your account upgraded, you are able to rip and upload music to them and recieve DOUBLE your size credit in downloads :)
  • by 53cur!ty ( 588713 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:46AM (#8994850) Homepage
    It's good to see the Russian Mob...I mean Music Industry meeting the needs of the consumers!

    Two observations:

    1st - Do any of you see the hypocrisy in buying from the Russian site? Are you the same people complaining about the outsourcing of American jobs/economy?

    2nd - Has it occurred to anyone that the music industry is now mob run? Look at the tactics they employ compared to past mob practices. And no the mob doesn't kill everyone since then they don't pay, only when they need to make an example or you steal directly from them. However, the recent pay or we'll sue definitely follow their intimidation tactics. The mob goes where the money is; right now, that's media (music and movies).

    Just my two-cents, think about it!

    Let us streamline your world []

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:57AM (#8994896) Homepage
    Amazingly, the site offers files in any format and encoding you choose and rips it on the fly. Notifications by email follow when the songs are ready for download. Sounds a little to good to be true :)

    Why does it sound too good to be true? There's no such technology? They can't possibly have all the CD titles that you're interested in?

    This could have been done at least three years ago. The USian companies missed out not because of technological factors, but their stupid laws and of course, the paranoid state of mind of the RIAA.

    This could have been "the" way to listen to music in this age and time... but noooo, somehow you MUST stick DRM in the files and whatnot. When will the relevant bodies realize that the more you restrict the consumers, the more they will look for an easier (and not necessarily legal) alternative.
  • About time (Score:3, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:03AM (#8994918) Homepage Journal
    About time this made the front page., weblisten,, and others were there long before ITMS, they are way cheaper, and they offer their service to all the world.

    How is it that ITMS got so much more publicity, even on a site like Slashdot that typically doesn't blindly play along with the major corporations?
  • RIAA != ASCAP (Score:4, Informative)

    by Peter Desnoyers ( 11115 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:05AM (#8994923) Homepage
    AllofMP3 has a license from the artists' association in Russia, not the record labels - i.e. the ASCAP equivalent, not the RIAA equivalent. Under Russian law this is sufficient, according to the website. (I'd give a link, but the server is slashdotted at the moment...)
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:09AM (#8994944) Homepage
    It's probably great for Russians. But for Americans at least, the site is illegal.

    Our laws prohibit most unauthorized distribution and reproduction of copyrighted works in the US per 17 USC 106. The party that can authorize it is the US copyright holder -- this is prone to be a different entity than rights holders abroad.

    While some degree of importation is allowed per 602 and 109, this doesn't qualify. A copy isn't merely being brought into the country, but rather due to the way computers work (see the infamous MAI v. Peak case, which while wrong is commonly relied upon), a new copy is being made on the downloader's end that did not originate in Russia, and thus wasn't imported as 602 requires. (Though what it was copied _from_ did -- it's the difference betweeen a CD that can be brought from place to place, and making a tape of what you hear on the phone)

    Even the ability to legally import unauthorizedly is somewhat limited; the idea is that if we have copyright laws domestically, to allow people to do an end run around it by operating in a country with less or no copyright, then importing works here en masse would result in things being, well, fucked up, basically. This site basically demonstrates how such a thing might happen.

    The Russians are probably fine -- if they're careful, RIAA won't be able to shut them down. OTOH, Americans using the service could get into significant trouble if they're caught.

    All that having been said, I'd like to see the law changed to better suit the desires of the public, but for now there are problems for this.
    • by paulhar ( 652995 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:14AM (#8994968)
      Why is this any different to physically flying to Russia, buying a CD off the shelf for a much lower price than you pay in the US, then flying back with it?

      I.e. if you are legally buying something in another country (as allofmp3 claim) and you are shipping it to your computer (via an internet, just as software etc is distributed), then how can this suddenly become magically illegal?
      • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:18AM (#8994995) Homepage
        Why is this any different to physically flying to Russia, buying a CD off the shelf for a much lower price than you pay in the US, then flying back with it?

        Because that involves a copy made (legally, we assume) in Russia. The selfsame copy is then brought here. When you listen to it, you're listening to a copy of foreign origin.

        This involves a copy made HERE, itself based on a copy in Russia. When you download something, the bits on the server aren't magically sent to you -- instead a new copy is made. Since, in the end, there is a copy on your computer, and a copy on their computer, it is pretty obvious that this involved an act of copying, not an act of importation (where only one copy exists, and it's moved physically).

        Do you see the difference?
        • by Quaryon ( 93318 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:05AM (#8995232)
          To be pedantic, the Russian site creates a copy specifically for you - once you've finished downloading it gets deleted - that might make a difference, not sure. This happens because the file you download is encoded specifically for you, with your own desired LAME (or whatever) parameters.

    • by Uninvited Guest ( 237316 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:41AM (#8996131)
      While some degree of importation is allowed per 602 and 109, this doesn't qualify

      Let's go to the code, shall we?
      US Code Title 17, Chapter 6, Sec. 602 [] Infringing importation of copies or phonorecords

      (a) Importation into the United States, without the authority of the owner of copyright under this title, of copies or phonorecords of a work that have been acquired outside the United States is an infringement of the exclusive right to distribute copies or phonorecords under section 106, actionable under section 501. This subsection does not apply to -
      (2) importation, for the private use of the importer and not for distribution, by any person with respect to no more than one copy or phonorecord of any one work at any one time, or by any person arriving from outside the United States with respect to copies or phonorecords forming part of such person's personal baggage;

      MAI SYSTEMS CORP. v. PEAK COMPUTER [] didn't involve importing for personal use, so hardly applicable here.

      And, as we learned from RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia [] (regarding the Diamond RIO MP3 player), facilitation of personal use gets broad protection under fair use.

      So, is downloading MP3's from Russia importation or not? If it is importation, then personal use is covered under section 602. If it is not importation, then the duplication in the U.S. should still be covered under personal use; i.e., you legally bought the right in Russia to duplicate the copyrighted work to your Diamond RIO MP3 player for your personal use in the U.S.
  • by Daath ( 225404 ) <lp@coder . d k> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:15AM (#8994976) Homepage Journal
    While legal in Russia, it may not be legal in YOUR country to use their services.
    Just a thing to bear in mind, if you want to keep a clean path.
  • by mpk ( 10222 ) <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:20AM (#8995007) Homepage
    ..then it probably is, and that's why I treat these claims with a hefty degree of scepticism. Let's look at a few points:

    If they claim they're legal because "we're licensed as if we were broadcasting the material", then as far as I understand you have no right to make or keep a recording of anything they might broadcast. Broadcasting is "we broadcast it and you listen", and there's no automatic right to tape records off the radio.

    It's highly possible that the reason they haven't been closed down is that taking legal action against shady Russian entities is extremely difficult at the best of times.

    If they're interested in people uploading stuff *to* them in exchange for download rights, then the legitimacy of their source material seems doubtful.

    Ultimately, applying Occam's razor to this story makes me wonder that if it's so spotlessly legal, why isn't everyone setting up stores like this on Russian territory?

    Anyway, something here smells sufficiently fishy for me to be extremely sceptical of the wisdom of giving them money.
  • what did you learn in school today
    I will go to a music shop and buy more CD's []

    that is the scariest bit of news i've heard lately
    (mpaa has a new program that teaches children they should buy more , 'if you don't pay for it - you've stolen it' , by giving , get this, the teachers yearly free movie passes,... there's more , worth your time ..)
    originally here [] , a couple of days ago, and making waves
  • Good site. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:26AM (#8995417)
    I've been using their site for about 6 months now, for pay, with no problems. They haven't stolen my CC number, the files are immaculate quality, and I've been able to get hard-to-find music that doesn't exist except in a few random music stores here in the states.

    Best part?

    It's legal.
  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#8995639)
    For anyone interested in grabbing AllofMP3's top-ten, I've compiled their current list.

    10. Boris - Boris Sings the Blues
    9. Svetlana - Oops, Svetlana did it again
    8. Katerina Jones - Feels like Moscow
    7. Natalya - Toxic ... Water
    6. Igor - Looking For You ... on the Bread Line
    5. Leonid - Damita Leonid
    4. Yuri - Yuri, Unplugged
    3. Karina - 99 Bottles of Vodka
    2. Sonya - The Red Album
    1. 50 Rubles - Get Warm or Die Tryin
  • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:24AM (#8995965) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't presume to argue the legality of this for people outside Russia. I have no idea. I'll continue my policy of trying not to purchase or access new copies of copyrighted materials unless I'm confident they are sold with the approval of the copyright owner or their agent. I would be curious to know if copyright owners are getting anything back from these sales.

    The primary interest in this to me is how it points out the growing gap between the major content conglomerates' business models and the reality of what they're producing. We all know the prices on CDs are ridiculously high compared to their production costs - one or two dollars versus ten or twenty, very very roughly. With online it has become even more ridiculous - pennies to deliver the data versus a dollar or more to buy a song. Yet Apple tells us it can't make money.

    The lesson I wish was being learned here is that we have entered the age where a recording contract with a major label is like a huge freaking albatross around your neck. The reason Apple can't make money on iTunes is because between the cumbersome necessity of verification and the enormous skim the labels are demanding there's nothing left over - bringing the ridiculous situation where they can't make money selling data transfers of say 3-10 MB for a buck.

    The labels are indeed to blame but I personally don't want to rectify the situation by finding a way to get their stuff for free or extra cheap. I'd much rather see artists realize that they don't need the labels anymore, they just need some technical help and better organized consumers. Just as anyone can now go and pay someone a pretty nominal amount to burn CDs in bulk with whatever data they want on them, anyone can now go and pay an even more nominal fee per bit to have someone serve whatever data they want on demand. Screw Russia, go hit and check the music offerings - songs for pennies. That's a real revolution, my friends.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein