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.
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  1. identicon
    Cleverboy, 28 Nov 2006 @ 5:15pm

    TechDirt, Short Memory...

    The thing that bothers me, is that its implied that because a company is saying the right noises, that what they're saying jibes with what we have been told already.

    1. ROMs has been kicked out of CISAC for not paying artists appropriately.
    2. AllOfMp3.com had until September 1st to comply with the new Russian law amendments about paying rights holders what they demand to be paid. They even said they were raising prices to "get there". This amendment was delayed 2 years so that companies like AllOfMp3.com could "catch up". Whoops.
    3. Despite notices on their own website about this law, they have instead pretended that "lip service" will be a fair and equitable alternative to paying the artists.

    I think it is out of sheer bias that sites like this systematically ignore the facts on issues like this. I'm an informed reader. Maybe I'm out of line for expecting news blogs to have a certain standard for accuracy and context, but it still concerns me.

    Just yesterday, I noticed how a hip hop website, reporting on the recent shooting of a groom in New York reported on the story, failing to note the police offer had identified himself before the groom rammed him with his car. As a friend related more information to me, I looked back at the news site and shook my head at all the misinformation it was spreading.

    >> "Shouldn't they change the law first?"

    This just insults the intelligence of everyone reading the blog. Where have you been??? They ALREADY changed the law. I'd hot link most of this post to all the references, but I'm sure it would be a waste of time. It hurts my head that people choose to willfully ignore the facts in favor of political agenda. I guess it happens on both sides, and the public is the one left poorer for it.

    >> If anything, it's often emboldened those who are championing free or cheap music offerings.
    Is that what AllOfMp3.com is? A champion of "free music" / "cheap music"? And terrorists are really "freedom fighters"? Maybe we should all take to the streets and if we see someone selling something, grab it, copy it, and offer it to everyone for free. 2 extra points if you bust them in the face once or twice before you make off. Let's all be "champions".

    --I'm all for pushing freedom, advancement, etc... but when legitimate services like eMusic are compared to illegitimate services that can't bother with proper English in their names, I think we're all screwed if we're sipping that kool-aid.

    Babies and bath water, people. Babies and bath water. This is sad.

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