US Says WTO Won't Let In Russia If Allofmp3 Comes Back To Life

from the something-seems-wrong-here... dept

With Allofmp3.com announcing that it plans to reopen the site now that (once again) the site has been found to be legal under Russian laws, it didn't take long for the RIAA... er... U.S. government to make its unhappiness clear. A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative has announced that if Allofmp3.com reopens, then Russia has kissed away its chance to join the WTO. This isn't all that surprising, given that the U.S. (at the urging of the RIAA) threatened Russia that it would keep the nation out of the WTO unless it shut down Allofmp3.com. Of course, it doesn't make much sense either. This is a private dispute between private entities. It doesn't seem reasonable for the US gov't to be getting involved. Secondly, as should now be quite clear, Allofmp3.com is operating legally under Russian laws. So it hasn't done anything wrong either. Just because some companies in the US don't like the fact that Allofmp3 has come up with a business model that customers actually like, it doesn't mean that the US gov't should ban Russia from the WTO. And, of course, this doesn't even begin to get into how ridiculous it is that the business model of a single small company should be the key factor in whether or not an entire country is allowed into the WTO. In the meantime, given how often the US has been ignoring the WTO over the Antigua online gambling case, perhaps the WTO should simply ignore the US on this one.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    dorpus, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 6:50pm

    I told you so

    Russia is just using allofmp3.com as a bargaining chip with the WTO. It doesn't give a rat's ass about intellectual freedom, despite the many libertarian nerds who flamed me last time.

     

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      charlie potatoes, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 8:45pm

      Re: I told you so

      an 'i told you so' from dorpus. i'm almost speechless.. all i can say is, "Dorpus, Fuck you, towel head."

       

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    Chris, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 7:00pm

    If they would wait

    If Russia could get allofmp3.com to start after they join the WTO, Russia would be pretty safe (or so you;d think....)

     

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    Sarai, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 7:36pm

    Is America The Schoolyard Bully For The World?

    As an American, I apologize for my country, for my government's insistence on being the hall monitor for the entire world. With all my heart, I would like to see Russia tell George Bush to stick it where the sun don't shine, tell the owners of Allofmp3 to start up the computers again, and fuck the WTO.

     

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      Jonathon, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:52am

      Re: Is America The Schoolyard Bully For The World?

      First, do you *REALLY* think that Bush is the one that is pushing for this? I realize it is "popular" to dislike Bush right now, but blaming him solely for everything that has gone wrong over the last ~7 years is completely absurd. Not that I agree with him on all topics, but the utter ignorance of people jumping on the Bush bashing bandwagon is laughable at best.

      Anyway, the bigger issue is that corporations are allowed this much control over politics, especially foreign policy. However, there is probably *some* amount of sales lost due to sites like allofmp3 (despite everyone giving lip service to the fact that if they "really like a song" then they actually buy it). So I think that the record labels are correct in trying to limit their damages (don't say its a broken business model, that is beside the point). That said, I don't think they are correct in their tactics. They really do need to embrace the newer business models and compete solely on merit, not an established monopoly.

      Like it or not, Russia has a *LOT* more to gain by entering the WTO than being "home to allofmp3.com" Even still, I don't agree with them changing laws just to close the loop, but at the same time, digital communication wasn't prevalent like it is now when they were created...so even if they are revamped to accommodate technology improvements, then that doesn't make them evil.

      I think it is funny how people get upset when old laws hold back/prevent technology (especially borderline questionable ones) but they are all on the "its legal, so its ok" when it enables something even if the old laws didn't deal directly with the said new technology.

      Now to wrap up this long rant. Also as an American, I used allofmp3 (currently use mp3search.ru and mp3sparks.com) so I'm not trying to say that these sites are bad/evil/whatever. I'm just sick of idiots spewing off garbage on topics they obviously have no clue about or can't see the big picture.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:18pm

        Re: Re: Is America The Schoolyard Bully For The Wo

        First, do you *REALLY* think that Bush is the one that is pushing for this?
        Do you *REALLY* not know that the executive branch of the US govt runs foreign policy?

         

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    DeadlyOats, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 8:23pm

    Well, it is getting closer to election time......

    The RIAA probably promised a big donation to the Democrats and Republicans to pass some sort of resolution that led to our government taking the stance it did. I agree with the questions raised by the article. What does government have to do with the private business disputes of private businesses. Aren't private business disputes suppose to be handled in civil court, and not by the State Department?

    What about the idea that a Nation is sovereign and that its law makers make the laws for their own countries? I know I bristled when the EU told Texas what to do about its laws relating to capital punishment. Can you imagine what the Russians are thinking?

    This is the last thing that should decide WTO membership. What about Russia's absurd claims to the North Pole? THAT, more then any other reason should have been brought up.

    But, then again, the elections are coming up soon, and RIAA is likely dangling their pen over the check book and wondering how many zeros - and commas - to add to the number they scribbled on it....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 8:53pm

    Well, that's the government for you. They're willing to fuck international commerce just to get a website shut down. God damn those fuckers, I seriously don't know how they (elected officials) keep getting elected.

     

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    Kyros, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 9:03pm

    Dorpus has a point. But regardless, russias intentions aren't under the microscope. The question is if a private company should have influence over the US gov's stance on things involving entire countries. I tend to think that this shows how stupid my government is...and it really saddens me that my government is this pathetic.

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 9:09pm

    So...

    out of 151 member nations one of them gets to set the criteria for allowing a 152nd? Not only that but that one member is allowing a group of companies that refuse to acknowledge the changing nature of their industry to pressure them...but we're supposed to the good guys.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 10:07pm

    bravo

    "Just because some companies in the US don't like the fact that Allofmp3 has come up with a business model that customers actually like, it doesn't mean that the US gov't should ban Russia from the WTO."

    Brilliant...

     

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    bub, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 10:45pm

    WTO list

    yeah they got China and Nigeria on their team. Wouldnt it seem more prudent to demand the end of dictatorships and improvment of human rights for these countries, instead of focusing all this energy on a stupid web site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 10:51pm

    come on guys, we all know american music >>> world trade as a whole as well.
    after all, RIAA >>> american government

     

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    TSO, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 11:12pm

    > U.S. (at the urging of the RIAA) threatened Russia that it would keep the nation out of the WTO unless it shut down Allofmp3.com.

    > President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Air Force would resume regular, long-range patrols by nuclear-capable bombers over the oceans.

    One would think, there's absolutely no connection... =^.^=

     

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    Shohat, Aug 29th, 2007 @ 11:25pm

    Idiotic lobbying

    It is amazing that such a microscopic and meaningless economy such as music even has any power when it comes to WTO memberships.
    Steel, oil, electronics, military equipment are acual industries, music/software is just a microscopic niche.

     

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    BigEd, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 12:22am

    BigEd for President...

    Maybe I should run for President. An independent with no care or need for any contributors. The RIAA and the MPAA would become has-beens. No company or organization would be allowed to interfere in US policy without the risk of becoming outlawed. And this includes sticking their noses into other countries laws. Copyrights would be gone and forced to be rewritten the correct way. And 'Yes' I smoked weed and inhaled it and it was sure good....Ringggggg.... Damn alarm going off, time to wake up from this perfect dream.....

     

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    mike allen, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 1:24am

    Law

    USA has No right to dictate law to any other country Russia or Australia ( I seem to remember RIAA dictating a clause in a free trade agreement) all because of a old industry wont move on. if they dont they RIAA members deserve to die. Metaphorically speaking of course.

     

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      K, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 4:35am

      Re: Law

      Unfortunately RIAA does have the right to try to enforce a lot of things regarding music as it is coming FROM the United States and its artist's labels and music companies to which RIAA regulates.

      Another unfortunate situation is allofmp3 "acting under russian laws". Thats nice and all, but it means nothing if its not russian music their listening to.

      That said - allofmp3 has the most intuitive system and RIAA should be working with them to find a common ground.

       

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        SailorRipley, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re: Law

        1) Even though the RIAA was formed by record companies that span the world, it is still the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America...so whatever legitimate right(s) you think they have to try to enforce whatever, it ends at the borders of...America. If the record companies want to do something about the Russion situation, they should form a RIAR.

        2) Since you mention music as it is coming FROM the United States: what of all the music not made by Americans? You might know some of them, you know, like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, U2,...? Even if their record company would be American in origin and is part of the RIAA, the artists and music are not. So by your own reasoning, you know, where the music is coming from and all that, how do you legitimize the fact that the RIAA is trying to prevent allofmp3 from selling non-American music?

        3) and what kind of retarded argument is that second paragraph in general anyway??? so your reasoning is: we're in country X, and as long as we're talking about products from/made in country X, the rules of country X apply, otherwise, the rules of country Y, where the product was from/made, should apply? If that's the case, everybody in the US (world for that matter) should start ordering pot from The Netherlands. And all gun lovers outside of the US should start ordering American guns..."screw you your honor, Swedish law does not apply to my gun, it's American so I have a right to own and carry it"

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:26pm

        Re: Re: Law

        Unfortunately RIAA does have the right to try to enforce a lot of things regarding music as it is coming FROM the United States and its artist's labels and music companies to which RIAA regulates.
        No, they don't. I don't know where you got that goofy idea but I'm insulted that you'd expect me to believe it.

        Another unfortunate situation is allofmp3 "acting under russian laws". Thats nice and all, but it means nothing if its not russian music their listening to.
        Listening to music from another country does make you subject to their laws any more than reading their literature would. That's absurd.

        Go home, RIAA troll.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 3:13am

    ummm allofmp3 just rips off artists competely, selling the product the artists worked hard to create, making profit they don't deserve.

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2007 @ 3:28am

      Re:

      ummm allofmp3 just rips off artists competely, selling the product the artists worked hard to create, making profit they don't deserve.

      It does not rip them off. It has tried to pay, but the RIAA has refused the money. It has created a business model that works for both fans and artists. To say they "don't deserve" profit shows a profound misunderstanding of the market.

       

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        Matt, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:49am

        Re: Mike

        I'm as anti-RIAA as anyone, but what exactly is allofmp3's business model? Selling songs for pennies? I'm pretty sure me ripping DVDs and then selling them on my site for $3 would have people flocking there, but it's not exactly right or legal. And me telling the MPAA and movie producers "Hey, I'll give you a buck per movie, so it's okay," doesn't really make things square either.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Mike

          Did you miss the part where Mike says "Allofmp3.com is operating legally under Russian laws"? Allofmp3 is legel in Russia because they are paying the Russian verson of RIAA for the right to sell the music. RIAA is just in a snit. They are refusing to accept their portion of the money and at the same time raising a stink because they are not being paid.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:28pm

          Re: Re: Mike

          I'm pretty sure me ripping DVDs and then selling them on my site for $3 would have people flocking there, but it's not exactly right or legal.
          If you don't like it, then move to Russia.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    government on the peoples back for the corporations

     

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    Keybored, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:35am

    You Got That Right

    Oh shit I used copyrighted song lyrics in my subject line! My country will now be kicked out of the WTO!

    Allofmp3 is probably the BEST example of how to use the Internet to conduct business. Everything about that website is awesome and I hope they do come back.

     

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    dean collins, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:47am

    America kicked out of the WTO

    In breaking news today the USA has been kicked out of the WTO by Antigua.

    The USA's repeated defiance of international court rulings in favour of Antigua has led up to this event.

    President Bush said in an earlier press conference that he didn't realise the USA could lose a case in the WTO and thought it only applied to those Damned Ruskies.


    Cheers,
    Dean Collins
    www.cognation.net

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:28am

    The United Incorporated States of America.

    I cannot believe that a company has the power to sway U.S. foreign policy. It really highlights in my mind the question, "if the riaa can pressure the government to keep a country out of the WTO, what power to other lobby groups have?" It's actually scary.

    Allofmp3 sells music, it doesn't give it away. Isn't selling music to make money what the RIAA wants? I think it actually wants to control all of the music so only it has authority to sanction sales. Ridiculous.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

      Re:

      I cannot believe that a company has the power to sway U.S. foreign policy.
      Why not? The US has the govt money can buy.

       

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    Javk Truth, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:28am

    They Never Shut Down

    Its No Secret That They Didn't Ever Shut Down, they operate under Alltunes.com, Mp3sparks.com ect. if you had money on allofmp3.com your login works at both places. So If they stated up allofmp3.com its just another name

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Well if that's the case...

    then does this mean that an industry (just for kicks lets say oil) of any country that deals with the US could demand that the US pull out of Iraq under the threat of the US being kicked out of the WTO?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 6:37am

      Re: Well if that's the case...

      Come on now the oil producers operate under the laws of their nations and pay them taxes. The allofmp3 site... er, operates under the laws of their nations and pay them taxes. Um, forget that argument, I didn't mean it.

      Oil companies are a huge special interest group with tons of influence in their nations. They don't really have said nations interest in mind, only their own. The RIAA is only a... ummm, special interest group with tons of influence in their nations. They don't really have said nations interest in mind, only their own. Er, forget that one too I didn't mean it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:20am

    God blass the rules of the world...errr USA. Heh what a bunch of retards. Isn't blackmailing illegal?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:46am

    I'd call it racketeering, actually. Like the mob. "You pay us what we want and we won't hurt you (read: shut down your business/keep you out of the WTO)

     

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      John M, Sep 7th, 2007 @ 7:38pm

      Re: Racketeering

      The problem is that AllOfMP3.com TRIED to pay RIAA, but RIAA didn't want their money. It is not a case of trying to get money from them.

       

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    identicon
    John Canada, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 7:51am

    U.S. and the law

    The U.S. has a great regard for International Law,

    With Canada and the softwood lumber, the lost under NAFTA Treaty and the U.S. did not pay up (oh they lost 3 times). Then it went to WTO and the U.S. lost again and again and again. The U.S. still refuses to live up to the WTO rulings.

    Did you know Canada is the U.S. largest trading partner and they still will not follow the rules.

    Maybe Canada should stop trading with the U.S. to teach the U.S. Government a lesson that they have to follow International Laws and Treaties.

    What this will no to the U.S.

    We are your largest supplier of Oil & Gas and Electricity.

    And Canada has always been friendly to Russia.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:20am

    Nah!! AllofMP3 is just an excuse

    Anybody think that US foreign policy is that straight forward that what they say is what they really mean?

     

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    Reed, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    World War MP3

    "> President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Air Force would resume regular, long-range patrols by nuclear-capable bombers over the oceans.

    One would think, there's absolutely no connection... =^.^="

    MP3's are a good reason to start WWIII.

    I am so glad I live in a country that agitates for more conflict than any other country in history.

    We simply hate peace and we need another long drawn-out cold war to justify spending the majority of our budget on weapons of mass destruction (Terrorism probably isn't enough to justify the money spent). We are, after all, the largest arms proliferators in the world. We literally arm the world!

    Americans need to face the fact that many elements in our government profit off the suffering of countless human beings. In America we do it best, and by that I mean we profit the most of from the suffering of humanity.

    So lets build that missile defense shield and start ramping up the production of the next generation of nukes. We may need them to stop MP3 piracy for the RIAA. What's the big deal with a few million lives lost when there are profits to be protected?

     

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    Joe, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 10:41am

    The Job of a Government

    It seems to me like the argument here is "Someone started stealing my product and selling it. They then offered to pay me whatever they thought it was worth. Now everyone on the Internet thinks I'm in the wrong for not wanting to continue this one sided relationship."

    To continue this analogy, "Then the person stealing my product and selling it turned out to live in another country where my laws don't apply....the people on the Internet said I should just give up and accept it."

    Guess what? This is one of our government's jobs. We can't privately settle this between 2 private companies because the laws are different. Governments must settle this and one of the ways they do that is by leveraging whatever power and influence they have.

    To those that say "Well music should be free so ...." -- well it's not. Go lobby for change; avoid stealing.

    To those that say "Private industry/companies shouldn't be able to sway foreign policy...." -- um, you think we would associate or have any dealings with foreign governments if business wasn't involved? If we didn't need to import/export goods, we would have no reason for dealing with anyone (and don't harp on the early isolationism policy that got us blown up at Pearl Harbor…I'm simplifying a lot here). The government sets up treaties and trade organizations so that all the companies of the governments involved will be held to some set of rules...some common ground of laws.

    To those that would bring up the US's own indescrepencies with the WTO -- yeah...you've got a great point. The US probably should be kicked out of it. But two wrongs don't make a right.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 5:39pm

      Re: The Job of a Government

      It seems to me like the argument here is "Someone started stealing my product and selling it.
      So, you're basically saying that the argument is based on a lie to begin with.

      To continue this analogy, "Then the person stealing my product and selling it turned out to live in another country where my laws don't apply....the people on the Internet said I should just give up and accept it."
      What the people on the internet are saying is "Stop telling that lie, RIAA."

      I'm simplifying a lot here
      That's not all you're doing.

      The government sets up treaties and trade organizations so that all the companies of the governments involved will be held to some set of rules...some common ground of laws.
      I haven't anyone else claim that Russia is violating a treaty with the US. Just exactly which one would that be? (What, you didn't expect anyone to ask?)

       

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        Joe, Aug 31st, 2007 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re: The Job of a Government

        Wow, way to take a lot of things out of context.

        As far as "the argument starting with a lie"...maybe I misunderstand allmp3s business model. The only way it wouldn't be "stealing" (as I said) would be if they were purchasing a copy of a CD, then reselling it only once to one party for whatever they wished to charge. Buying one copy of the CD, then selling copies of it to anyone else without compensation to the seller is stealing. And guess what, if the seller doesn't want them to do it, it is there right to stop it (I don't care how bad of a business model you think it is...if you don't like it, don't support them in any way.

        If you think your "give music away free" model is so great, why haven't you started up your own recording label? At the very least, stop supporting anything under the RIAA's control.

        On to another point, did I say anything about Russia violating any specific treaties with the US? You do realize the story is somewhat about the WTO though, right?

        I believe my comment about treaties was specifically aimed at why "private industry/companies can sway foreign policy" and then was generalizing about the reason many trade treaties and organizations come into existence (because of companies wanting to trade globally).

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2007 @ 12:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: The Job of a Government

          Wow, way to take a lot of things out of context.
          The entire context is right above for everyone to see. Nothing is hidden. If you expect to see your whole post repeated in every reply you're going to be greatly disappointed. Get over it.

          As far as "the argument starting with a lie"...maybe I misunderstand allmp3s business model. The only way it wouldn't be "stealing" (as I said) would be if they were purchasing a copy of a CD, then reselling it only once to one party for whatever they wished to charge.
          Seems you're the one telling lies. And no matter how often you repeat it, it doesn't make it true.

          If you think your "give music away free" model is so great, why haven't you started up your own recording label?
          What? And hire turf-trolls like you to spread lies on forums? No thanks.

          On to another point, did I say anything about Russia violating any specific treaties with the US?
          Then just exactly which treaties were you referring to? None, apparently. Just more of your BS. Treaties between the US and other countries don't apply to Russia, no how much you might like to pretend otherwise.

          I believe my comment about treaties was specifically aimed at why "private industry/companies can sway foreign policy" and then was generalizing about the reason many trade treaties and organizations come into existence (because of companies wanting to trade globally).
          And I believe that you were trying to convey that Russia was somehow violating some treaty with this, which they aren't. You got caught and now you're trying to worm out of it. Nice try, but you got caught and digging your hole deeper isn't going to help you out of it.

           

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    identicon
    Mike, Aug 30th, 2007 @ 11:30am

    Starting another cold war is not the most brainy things to do. In case they haven't noticed, Russia is reasserting itself on the international political mix in a big way lately..

    If I was a RIAA exec..I would be hesitant to make enemies of Russia. This is not some kid d/l from his dorm. Costing Russia billions in trade might not be the smartest thing to do..

    Can you say Polonium?

    /hopefully, Russia executes them all slowly

     

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    identicon
    Jeff, Sep 2nd, 2007 @ 7:45pm

    Fucking America needs to be removed from the face of the earth.

     

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