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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.
  • 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..
  • 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.
  • Re:seems legal (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:39AM (#8994808)
    oops, that should have said "sued puretunes", apologies, next time ill RTFA again and not rely on my infalliable memory.
  • by NSash ( 711724 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:39AM (#8994810) Journal
  • 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 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 :)
  • 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.

  • Re:Not legal (Score:3, Informative)

    by G-funk ( 22712 ) <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:54AM (#8994883) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • News for Nerds (Score:2, Informative)

    by Quo_R ( 734198 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:57AM (#8994895)
    You do realize that they have been in business for years? Welcome to last year.
  • 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...)
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by s0meguy ( 265470 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:10AM (#8994948)
    Not a problem - they take Paypal.
  • 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 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.
  • by Tiber ( 613512 ) <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:49AM (#8995126) Homepage
    You should also check out [] and see their selection. As far as I know, these guys are newer then the Russian site, but offer the same services.
  • 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.
  • by q-the-impaler ( 708563 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:57AM (#8995176)
    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 music from here.
  • by sorlov ( 103848 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:12AM (#8995296)
    Why isn't everyone setting up stores like this on Russian territory?
    They do, but they all have Russian only interface:
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Or just the opposite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:27AM (#8995425) Homepage
    In some countries (e.g. here in Australia), "sole distribution rights" does not make parallel importation by the consumer illegal - and if the "sole distributor" tries to tell you it is illegal, that's considered Restriction of Trade (which is illegal :-)

    I believe this has been tested in court over here, and it's still legal to "grey-market" CDs and other products.

  • by geighaus ( 670864 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:33AM (#8995477)
    AllOfMP3 Intervew ROMS (Russian equivavelent of RIAA) interview [] Some interesting points there about legality of this service.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:41AM (#8995543)
    Is this legal? We don't know. But it's how Paypal operates.
    It's almost certainly illegal.

    In most countries, if the law of the land gives you a right, nobody can take that right away from you. Which is why EULAs are on such shaky ground ..... you can't be held to an agreement not to reverse-engineer or disassemble the software {which the law gives you a specific right to do, as long as it's for the purpose of satisfying your own morbid curiosity and you aren't trying to run a business based on it}. It's also the reason why a man can still be convicted of raping his own wife -- a marriage certificate does not override a woman's right to refuse consent to sexual intercourse. And it's why you see the words "THIS GUARANTEE DOES NOT AFFECT YOUR STATUTORY RIGHTS".
  • Re:Not legal (Score:3, Informative)

    by avdp ( 22065 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:58AM (#8995698)
    This exact scenario is causing quite a fuss in the perscription drug world, as well

    Except it's actually illegal to import drugs - even for personal use. If you take the bus to canada and buy your drugs over there because it's cheaper, you've broken the law. The US government has just chosen not to go after individuals at this time.
  • Re:Not legal (Score:3, Informative)

    by The Evil Couch ( 621105 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:07AM (#8995783) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure import duties only apply if you import with intent to sell or a large amount of items. I've been across international borders quite a few times and customs really only cares about those two things.

    it can be argued that the internet is basically a world market, with a bit of a laise faire attitude. so long as it's legal in the country of origin, import restrictions don't really apply.

    now, if their liscense to distribute music prohibits them from selling for foreigners, then the RIAA has a leg to stand on.

    I shouldn't have to say it, but IANAL, so all of that could be wrong.

  • 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.

  • Citibank and Russia (Score:2, Informative)

    by sorlov ( 103848 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:33AM (#8996053)
    They work in Russia too and they are pretty successful there.
  • by blorg ( 726186 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @10:36AM (#8996077)
    ...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.
  • 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.
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:12AM (#8996501) Homepage
    The EU is all about opening up markets, not closing them.

    The EU is all about opening up markets within Europe. As far as they're concerned the rest of the world can go hang itself. In fact, the whole point of the EU is to eliminate barriers to trade between EU countries while keeping barriers to non-EU countries.

    However, it is the national governments that hinder this.
    Yes, but the EU court manages to keep a leash on this behavior through zealous enforcement of articles 25-28 of the EU treaty.
  • by schmiddy ( 599730 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:44AM (#8996858) Homepage Journal
    Here. []
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fancia ( 710007 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:11PM (#8997157)
    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.
  • Re:RIAA != ASCAP (Score:3, Informative)

    by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:45PM (#8999124) Homepage Journal
    RIAA is the Recording Industry ARTISTS Association.

    Only on bizarro world. Here on earth it's the Recording Industry Association of America [].

  • Site is 100% legal (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:29PM (#9001256)
    This site is 100% legal, for more info see this review []
  • by Kevin143 ( 672873 ) <slashdot.kfischer@com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:28PM (#9001919) Homepage

    I'm very happy with the sound quality of allofmp3, for the most part. It's definitely better than iTunes or any competitor. However, they most definitely misrepresent the quality.

    All of their CDs are stored in their database as a 384 kb/s LAME encoded mp3, not in a lossless form. So, you're pretty much wasting your time if you use extremely high quality ogg or mpc encoding since the quality can never be higher than the original mp3, and whatever you use will have been reencoded at least once, with whatever associated quality losses that entails.

    Allofmp3 is trying to resolve this quality issue, fortunately. Right now, they have about fifty of their most downloaded CDs (White Stripe's Elephant, Outkast's epic album, REM's greatest hits, etc.) available online [] [] to be encoded losslessly. You have to check the box that says "use original cd data" and you also have the option of getting SHN, FLAC, or APE encoded music. However, you have to pay twice as much for that priveledge, at which point it would almost be cheaper to buy the cd new. See this interview [] [] with someone working for allofmp3.

    The interview also reiterates some of the legality issues, but of course, it's straight from the mouth of allofmp3 which certainly isn't a non-biased source.

APL hackers do it in the quad.