Russian Court Says Visa Can't Cut Off AllofMP3 Unit

from the denied dept

Earlier in the month, Russian authorities shut down the well-known Allofmp3.com site, following complaints from the US government -- and the implication that if they didn't do so, the US would make it hard for Russia to join the World Trade Organization. Of course, the people behind Allofmp3 quickly set up shop at another URL, and went about their business selling dirt-cheap digital music. It's today been reported that Alltunes, another site owned by Allofmp3's parent company, has won a court case against Visa's Russian agent, after Visa refused to process its payments. As the company points out, it's never been convicted of illegal activity, and Visa cut it off after complaints from the IFPI, the international equivalent of the RIAA. It's not clear to what extent Visa and its agents can be forced to =offer their services to a business, however the Allofmp3 folks are correct when they assert that it's not Visa's -- nor the IFPI's -- right to decide when copyright's been violated, particularly when they don't hold any of the copyrights in question.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 6:05pm

    Just a legal BS. Visa should have the right to whom it wants to do business with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Joker, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 6:27pm

    And you're an idiot, Anonymous Coward

    The whole issue was about the fact that Visa's decison was based on pressure from the American mafia, aka the RIAA, and the hot breath of George W. Bush down their necks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    George Glass, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 6:30pm

    Re:

    Yeah, like if I wanted to sell groceries to only white people, I'm sure that's perfectly legal. You must not be a business owner? It might be different if consumers were ripped off, but they are probably quite satisfied. If others think it is wrong, they will have to keep the pressure going to change the law. Visa now has to pay for getting involved in politics instead of just doing what they do best.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 6:31pm

    A case of contract enforcement

    Agreed. However, if they signed a contract saying they will provide a service
    for a certain period of time, they must honor the contract.

    Visa has the right to not offer further contracts to a constumer after the
    current one runs out.

    They can start offering contracts that state that they have the right to
    withhold/terminate service based on whether a complaint from a foreign
    or domestic third party exist.

    Of course, any constumer can decide to do (or not do) business with Visa
    based on the contracts offered by Visa.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    John, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 7:15pm

    bad precedent

    Visa can do business with the companies it chooses. However, I think by pulling its services out of allofmp3.com the company set a bad precedent. Now anytime some organization or company disagrees with Visa and whom it does business with, they can tell Visa, "Well, you shouldn't do business with them because of," and Visa will have to justify why it's okay to do business with them.

     

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  6.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re:

    "Yeah, like if I wanted to sell groceries to only white people"

    It's called Whole Foods. :-P

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 7:54pm

    A lot of places still don't take American Express because of their higher percent. So if I can decide which chards I will allow my customers use why can't the cards decide who they want as customers? Hrmm weird.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 8:10pm

    Re:

    Visa doesn't have any products or purchases with which to chose. They aren't choosing who they do business with, they're choosing who their customers do business with, which is bullshit. You don't put money onto a credit card expecting them to tell you what you can and can't use it to pay for (exception being store credit cards, but those are obvious limits).

    What's next, Mastercard decides to go activist and claim that Microsoft's a monopoly, and refuses to allow transactions on PC's?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 8:42pm

    Oh that's nice - now Visa wants to tell us what we can and cannot buy.

    I suppose one could use Mastercard..
    Just another opening for a new credit card company.

    But as we all know, Visa will always be the 'big' credit card company. Just as IBM is the big computer company... oh wait, IBM's decisions that made things hard for consumers kind of changed that.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    Re: A case of contract enforcement

    Visa has the right to not offer further contracts to a constumer after the current one runs out.
    I'm not sure Visa has such a "right". I think it probably depends on Russian law which may prohibit such discriminatory banking practices. Sometimes people get the mistaken idea that contracts somehow always trump the law.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 11:59pm

    Re:

    So if I can decide which chards I will allow my customers use why can't the cards decide who they want as customers? Hrmm weird.
    For the same reason they aren't allowed to charge different interest rates to different people based on their political affiliation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 12:00am

    Re: bad precedent

    Visa can do business with the companies it chooses.
    Says who?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 12:14am

    Their Choice

    It's not clear to what extent Visa and its agents can be forced to =offer their services to a business,...
    It's their choice: If they don't want to follow Russian law then they don't have to do business there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    mike allen, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 1:56am

    The article states That IFRI does not own copyright nor does the RIAA only the individual record company and that is debateable as I maintain it is the artist and the writers not the recording company that should hold the copyright the record should only has the right to distribute the recordings

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    DON Johnson, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 2:37am

    Re: Re: bad precedent

    Says the fact that since the whole airlines fiasco when visa lost tons of money because of shady business dealings whenever there is a possiblity of loss, cause of whiners like most of you who lets say pre-paid with your VISA or MC which visa owns the platform for both, wanted their money back they would have to pay out. Looks like a clear cut decision. Visa offers a service and if you have a Visa card just be happy they are looking out for you ... the consumer. weird huh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re: Re: bad precedent

    Oh, so says you, Emperor DON Johnson, huh? Well, the courts and I both think you're full of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 3:42am

    Re: Re: Re: bad precedent

    Visa offers a service and if you have a Visa card just be happy they are looking out for you ... the consumer. weird huh.
    There were no consumer complaints against Alltunes. Plenty of consumers have complained about Visa cutting this seller off though. That's not exactly "Visa looking out for you ... the consumer". That's more like Visa trying to impose their political goals on their card holders. Let me tell you something, DON Johnson, I don't need you or Visa telling me who to do business with. Go tell that to your handler back in the Visa PR department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Monster Mash, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 4:20am

    Visa

    Now I know why I don't want, carry or otherwise use credit cards.

    The model 666 implanted microprocessor is just around the corner...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    YouKnowNothing, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Classic!

    The only "people of color" I've seen shopping at Whole Foods are Asian.

    The only other "people of color" I've seen at Whole Foods work there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 6:28am

    it all goes down how the contract between visa and alltunes was drawn up.

    sure visa can pull, but at what cost? what if there are "open" transactions. i.e. people purchased via visa, but visa isn't paying that now.

    that woudl be my only concern. because if you told me you are gonna give me money for when other people purchased an item, and then those people got their item, and i'm waiting for payment...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    keybored, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 6:43am

    really a shame

    allofmp3 has their shit together. It is/was an awesome website. Kudos to you: allofmp3 programming gods!

    Screw visa for imposing their objectives on me. You know the other sister site(s) can't accept visa either. Guess what, there other ways to fund the account. Dumb asses with your political agendas. 19cents a song not enough for your cut?

    allofmp3 et. al. is an example of a good site providing a good service. Okay? Back to work for me, have to earn an honest living not like so many others...

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 6:49am

    im pretty sure visa is allowed to refuse to do business with Alofmp3.com or its affiliates or any other business. but as poster #4 said they have have to honor there contracts.

    So Visa is stuck to covering there clients purchases until there agreement with Alofmp3.com is over then they could refuse to renew it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Cesa, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re:

    I don't know anything about the laws in the US or in Russia, so I won't comment on that, but I can comment about Sweden where I live.

    Here a business owner can refuse business to anyone, as long as they don't discriminate any particular group, i.e. they can refuse to do business with any specific person, but not to "all blacks", or "all muslims", or "all male between 49 and 53", or any other specified group.

    It works fine here, so it should elsewhere as well. Though as I said, I don't know whether Russia has similar laws or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 8:06am

    Re:

    im pretty sure visa is allowed to refuse to do business with Alofmp3.com or its affiliates or any other business.
    You're pretty wrong too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...they can refuse to do business with any specific person, but not to "all blacks"...
    If that's so, then they can refuse to do business with blacks except for a few specially choosen "token" blacks. Wow, I had no idea Sweden so was backwards and racist. That kind of behavior was outlawed in the US long ago. You should be ashamed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    AnonymousCoward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 8:55am

    I'm Just an Idiot

    Look here it is, I'll lay it out for you: I'm an idiot, I say things on here entirely to promote discussion. Why else would I turn the words Cesa into an accusation that Swedes are racist?

    Sheesh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    John W, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 9:57am

    Re: And you're an idiot, Anonymous Coward

    "the American mafia, aka the RIAA, and the hot breath of George W. Bush down their necks."

    Uh, yeah, you left wing idiots give W. way too much credit. I agree the RIAA is mafia-like, but Bush has nothing to do with any of this. I guess you can't go one day without saying something bad about Bush.

    Ever realize he's not up for reelection? I still hear people chanting "Defeat Bush"...give it up guys. Take your own advice and move on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Mr. Vage, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I hope that was meant to be a joke. I think the point of the law is that if someone is being an a**hole, the owner of the store can kick the person out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: And you're an idiot, Anonymous Coward

    "Ever realize he's not up for reelection?"

    A person can only be president of the US for 2 terms...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    Re: I'm Just an Idiot

    Are you accusing Cesa of not telling the truth?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In the US it is illegal to discriminate against someone for *being* black whether you do so to *all* blacks or not. Many racists have tried to claim that they were not racist because they did not discriminate against ALL members of a particular race. That just doesn't cut it. For example, if you only discriminate against "uppity" blacks but not against blacks that show "proper" deference to whites, it is still racist and illegal. Even if you aren't discriminating against "all" blacks.

    If the law in Sweden is really as Cesa says and it is only illegal to discriminate against "all" members of a group then it sounds like racist's dream. It should be illegal to discriminate based on *being* a member of a group whether you apply it to all members or not. You can disagree with that if you want but it still doesn't make it right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    I think the main issue here is not whether or not Visa have the right to do business with someone or not.

    The point is they are being idiots doing the bidding on the IFPI and that's a stupid move.

    Also, to you fools who think Visa offer you a service. Yes they do, but at a VERY costly price. It's not like they're doing it for free, idiots......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Here a business owner can refuse business to anyone, as long as they don't discriminate any particular group,...
    That's what they're doing. They're refusing to do business with a group that the recording industry doesn't like.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Cesa, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If we were talking about math, and what I wrote was the exact definition of the law, you would be correct.

    But the law is much more flexible than a mathematical proof, sure you can try to find holes in the law to your advantage in Sweden just as anywhere, but you have to be much more inventive than that... :P

    So no, a judge would see right through such a silly attempt to discriminate.

    And it's not backwards, it's the best compromise of two worlds, the right of the business owner to do business as s/he chooses, and the right of everyone not to be discriminated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2007 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Cesa,
    You wrote what you wrote and either it was true or it wasn't. If what you wrote is actually true then it is indeed backwards. If what you wrote isn't true then trying to justify it rather than admitting it just makes you seem like a liar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Cesa, Jul 18th, 2007 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't feel it was necessary to look up the law and do an exact translation, I thought it was obvious what I meant, and how the law worked. You managed to misunderstand me to a degree I wouldn't have thought possible...

    The law is written and interpreted in a way that enables a business owner to do business to whoever s/he likes, as long as s/he does not discriminate people for belonging to a certain group, be it sex, religion etc.

    Clearer now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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