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 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.

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Companies: allofmp3, ifpi, visa

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Comments on “Russian Court Says Visa Can't Cut Off AllofMP3 Unit”

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George Glass says:

Re: 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.

Cesa says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

Cesa says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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… 😛

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.

Cesa says:

Re: Re: Re:4 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?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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?

John W says:

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.

John says:

bad precedent

Visa can do business with the companies it chooses. However, I think by pulling its services out of 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.

DON Johnson says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Overcast says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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…

keybored says:

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…

Anonymous Coward says:

im pretty sure visa is allowed to refuse to do business with 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 is over then they could refuse to renew it.

Anonymous Coward says:

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……

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