With all of the bills that have shown up in Congress lately that are all about protecting the entertainment industry's increasingly obsolete business model, it's no surprise to find out that that the US government often seems to have little trouble taking orders from the industry. Last week, when the Pirate Bay went down (and, yes, it's now back up) there were rumors that the US government had pressured the Swedish government to take down the site. Now, we're hearing something similar about AllofMP3.com, which the recording industry desperately wants shut down. According to the NYTimes, US officials are telling Russia that the site needs to be shut down if they want entry into the World Trade Organization. If either of these stories are true, it should raise serious questions about why the US government is involved in what is a private dispute. In both cases, the sites have decent claims to being perfectly legal. The Pirate Bay doesn't host any infringing material on its own, but is simply a search engine. Allofmp3 claims to hold the correct licenses in Russia -- and some have claimed that even if you buy from them while in the US, it's no different than importing the music from Russia. Whether or not either claim to legality holds up, it seems like it should be a local matter dealt with inside each country without interference from the US -- especially since that interference is solely for the benefit of a single industry's business model.
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