RIAA Finally Succeeds In Having US Pressure Russia Into Shutting Down Allofmp3
from the this-will-backfire dept
For many months, US government officials have been doing the RIAA’s dirty work by threatening to block Russia’s admission into the WTO if it didn’t shut down Allofmp3.com — the Russian online music store that sells inexpensive songs, unencumbered by copy protection. Allofmp3 has noted that Russia’s admission to the WTO of no concern to them at all, while repeating their stance that they comply with all Russian laws, and that the recording industry won’t take the money they’ve tried to give it. While the US has put enough pressure on US credit card companies to pull the plug on using credit cards on Allofmp3, the site has continued to fight it out.
However, over at Digg, someone is pointing to a letter from the US Trade Representative (warning: pdf file) that highlights agreements made between Russia and the US, including that Russia will move to shut down Allofmp3.com and sites like it. Russia has also agreed to put in place new laws within the next month that will make it so sites like Allofmp3 no longer can get rights to resell content from local collections agencies (the loophole through which the site was legal). Of course, this seems a little backwards. Shouldn’t they change the law first? Then Allofmp3 will have to comply or be shut down. It’s amusing (if sad) to see the agreement include the promise to shut down Allofmp3 before even the laws are changed.
It will be interesting to see what comes of this. It certainly is getting a lot more difficult for Allofmp3 to stay in business, but hopefully someone, somewhere is realizing that Allofmp3’s business model represents a much bigger opportunity than a threat, seeing that people really will pay for music without copy protection, and they’ll buy an awful lot if the prices are much cheaper than they are now. Of course, it’s also possible that Allofmp3 (or some others) may realize that the trick is to just move out of Russia to a country that won’t succumb to the RIAA in the form of US government officials. We’ve heard Antigua might be interested — and they might do it with the support of the WTO, which takes that arrow out of the sling. The key point, however, is that each of these sites that the industry shuts down hasn’t done much to actually deal with the changing market the industry is facing. If anything, it’s often emboldened those who are championing free or cheap music offerings.