US Tells Russia To Change Laws So It Can Say Allofmp3 Was Always Illegal

from the what-a-waste-of-diplomatic-time dept

We recently wrote about how the US gov't has been saying repeatedly that it won't let Russia into the WTO if Allofmp3 comes back to life. This does seem rather ridiculous for a variety of reasons. After all, within Russia, the company has been found to be legal. And, secondly, it's not as if the US is in the WTO's good graces after ignoring the WTO's ruling on online gambling. If the WTO really wanted to punish the US for ignoring that issue, why not ignore the US's pleas to keep Russia out of the WTO itself? In the meantime, there's a bizarre statement in an article discussing Rep. Howard Berman once again saying that Russia needs to stop Allofmp3.com if it wants into the WTO. The article discusses how Russia has been slowly changing its laws following all this pressure from the US, and under the new laws, Allofmp3 may now be considered illegal. Yet, rather than focus on how it was the change of laws that made a previously legal service suddenly illegal, the article notes that "those legal changes could confirm what record companies have believed all along--that the Russian music stores are illegal." That seems rather bizarre, doesn't it? If the law gets changed, that doesn't confirm what's been said all along at all. It actually confirms the opposite. That the services were perfectly legal until a bunch of protectionist politicians who represent districts where the entertainment industry is based, bullied a foreign country into changing its laws to protect outdated business models.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 4:15pm

    Holy crap

    This activity on our behalf actually makes the genocide thing look important. What's next? Using the rest of the term to pick up trash on highways so they can claim to be "green"?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 4:32pm

    just because it's legal in russia doesn't make it right.. they basically sell mp3's that they don't own, and aren't paying out anything to the music creators themselves, which is outrageous, and ripping off artists.

     

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  3.  
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    Nick (profile), Oct 19th, 2007 @ 4:36pm

    Anything immoral must be illegal, right? Let's hear it for USA, the champion for the spreading democracy! It's like a virus!

     

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  4.  
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    MadJo, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure if you've followed the entire deal around Allofmp3.
    They do pay royalties, they pay them to the Russian royalties agency ROMS.

    It's just that the RIAA doesn't have deals with ROMS, that the RIAA doesn't get a share.

    BTW, the biggest 'pirate' is the RIAA, they are more guilty of scamming artists. Paying them nearly nothing for their work, while raking in the dough themselves. And striking deals with radio stations, manufactured in such a way that what those station pay the RIAA, does not constitute royalties, so that the RIAA doesn't have to pay them.

     

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  5.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Oct 19th, 2007 @ 4:56pm

    Honestly!

    If I was... were... was Russia, I'd tell the US exactly where they could stick it. That an utterly ridiculous matter such as this is pouring into international politics may make this the biggest super-power hissy-fit in history.

    I know! Why don't we try and kick Japan, Korea, and Germany out of the WTO because their cars are putting our car companies out of business! Let's tell them they need to make it illegal for their cars to get over 20mpg.

     

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  6.  
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    common_sense, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    *yawn*.. another article trying to twist the truth by defending pirating and stealing. pressuring a country to change what it considers legal in this case has to do with fair trade and acknowledging the rights of those who own copyrighted material. there's a balance to be reached, for sure, but simply blaming those who attempt to stand up for ownership where it applies is just more of the same 'entitlement mentality of the technological age.'

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 5:05pm

    Re:

    *yawn*.. another article trying to twist the truth by defending pirating and stealing. pressuring a country to change what it considers legal in this case has to do with fair trade and acknowledging the rights of those who own copyrighted material. there's a balance to be reached, for sure, but simply blaming those who attempt to stand up for ownership where it applies is just more of the same 'entitlement mentality of the technological age.'

    *yawn*... another comment trying to twist the truth by claiming that selling licensed music is pirating and stealing. pressuring a country to change what it considers legal has to do with protecting an obsolete business model with protectionist business models. It's the opposite of fair trade. there's a balance to be reached, for sure, but blaming those who legally have created innovative business models is just more of the same entertainment industry 'living in the past' mentality of those who can't understand simple economics or recognize the problems with protectionist policies.

     

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  8.  
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    Paul`, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 5:38pm

    Let's hope Russia comes in and liberates America before they murder us all with their stupidity.

     

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  9.  
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    Ironic or what?, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 6:15pm

    The US twisting the arm of Russia to make it a less free country?

     

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  10.  
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    Mickey, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 6:33pm

    A bully among the free

    Intrusion into another country's private affairs.

    Outruled!

    The value of foreign artists does not really measure to the creations of the culture at home. So why should they interfere, but for selfish reasons.
    Berman head off and change your mind!

     

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  11.  
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    MrWizard, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Acutally, if you dig into this story, you'll find that the reason RIAA isn't getting their share is because they've refused it. ROMS has attempted to pay RIAA. RIAA won't take it because ROMS won't sign their contract.

     

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  12.  
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    USSR, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 6:42pm

    Bullshit in the making

    US is being sort of a crack hore, sticking its nose where it don't belong - and that is up Russia's ass. "It" should worry about its own damn problems and stop telling every other country on how to live. Oh, and let's not pretend that US cares about anybody's wellness here, its all about the nickels and dimes.

    PS: allofmp3's are belong to rUS.

     

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  13.  
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    USSR, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 6:42pm

    Bullshit in the making

    US is being sort of a crack hore, sticking its nose where it don't belong - and that is up Russia's ass. "It" should worry about its own damn problems and stop telling every other country on how to live. Oh, and let's not pretend that US cares about anybody's wellness here, its all about the nickels and dimes.

    PS: allofmp3's are belong to rUS.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    You know, seriously, you guys need to come up with a new term for "Business model". It's fast turning into one of those words that just seem thrown about.
    I know you guys use it the right way a lot of the time, but it's getting annoying, just seeing it over and over again. Like "terrorism".

     

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  15.  
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    F. U. Berman, Oct 20th, 2007 @ 12:13am

    The usual Gangster Game

    Berman's only problem with Allofmp3 is that it is not his US M.A.F.I.A.A. running the business in Russia.

     

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  16.  
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    John, Oct 21st, 2007 @ 4:04am

    Re:

    Just because it's legal doesn't make it right? Who exactly decides what is right or wrong? You can't force your morals on a different country with it's own culture. What you consider right or wrong is completely different in other parts of the world.

     

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  17.  
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    Giovanni, Oct 21st, 2007 @ 8:21pm

    What about China?

    So the US bullies Russia and threatens to block WTO membership because of illegal music generating a couple hundred million in profit? Then why did the US support China's entry into the WTO EVEN THOUGH there was sound proof that pirating in China was so bad that over 3,000 MILLION dollars in lost revenue was occurring? The US gov't hypocrisy turns my stomach.

     

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  18.  
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    Michael Guy, Oct 21st, 2007 @ 9:41pm

    the crucible of global law != IP regulation

    it's actions like this that make globalism more difficult to provide any traction with reasonable people, if this exemplifies what globalism appears to be, strongarming and intimidating other nations into stupidly unified, one-sided policy.

    while IP is a soft issue on the scale of things, i believe IP is being utilised as a leverage issue used by a few entrepreneurs and brokers to set up eminent domains in an international digital marketplace. it's ridiculous to try and hold millions of people's rights to their entertainment hostage to the whims of so few with so much money and power.

    the kinds of things that occur at the behest of media barons like sony, emi, warner bros, fox under the guise of free association and IP are immoral at best. these companies have far too much money to be safely appreciated, and with money comes the need to flex those incorporeal muscles over institutions and governments that get in the way, as seen by companies like enron, MPAA, RIAA, etc. any company that decides to regulate their industry and then appeal to the government to change things, with money, and power, have some serious social issues to deal with, that they are wholly incapable of reasonsing out or recognising.

    it all smacks of a conspiracy to commit all U.S. fearing nations to a unilateral, U.S. dominated IP domain, where other dehumanising forces such as narcotics, pharmaceuticals, arms, military and guerilla/terrorist actions, immigration, labour markets and human smuggling is so tacitly ignored as are other more pressing, real international issues.

    if the relationship wasn't so monogamous with american and british artists having a lot more presence than say indian, african, chinese, russian, korean artists in this new order, people might be understandably more considerate. but this smacks of bullying, especially when put next to other examples of US legislation trying to operate in foreign countries i.e. the piratebay.org raids.

    it also seems implausible to make IP laws found in the free trade agreements signed by various nations, the tipping point for a globalist, international set of unified international law.

    and it is always thoroughly alienating to censor and restrict any group of people. once the behaviour of following the U.S. government's desires is set into place, it will be enormously difficult to move people away from draconian ideas, punishments and IP owners losing rights to foreign-owned corporations declaring ownership of entire nations of artist's work and the rights to legally, economically and proactively punish those who don't agree.

    i still believe it would be easier to unify global law with humanitarian rights over various nations than to try to rule the behaviour of the few people who listen to music or movies, locally and internationally. but apparently bureuacrats have other ideas.

    the obvious thing would be to have patents, royalties and globally spanning digital technology be something governed by a non-profit international cartel assigning indivual owner's and author's rights rather than ownership by corporations and domains, rather than a for-profit bank of divisional intellectual property.

    by having the people from hundreds of nations invest their ideas and intellectual capital in a global IP bank, there would be a single domain and font of IP from which to make spurious claims to authorship and propiety, partial authorship and franking of rights to third party users as royalties, etc.

    it would obviously have to be equally ubiqutous, globally spanning and accessible for useful international trading rights, and it makes for an easier method of regulating and governing resources between sovereign rights holders, an author's sponsor, contractor or patron and those arguing that their design holds a sovereign international identity by deign of this IP bank's records.

    i think artists and managers would be equally at home exploiting one another under this system as the current one, but quite arguably an imperfect-world solution that won't happen.

     

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  19.  
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    weebit, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 3:26am

    Re:

    The RIAA refused it because yes they wont sign the contract because the RIAA wants them to sell at competitive prices like the good boys do in the US. Which is a crock.

     

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  20.  
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    Yo-Yo, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 7:12am

    Re:

    As noted before a number of times: RIAA has refused the payments from AllofMP3.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    Well, if it walks, quacks, and sounds like a duck you call it a duck.

    The proper terminology for an item, act, or concept will bot be changed because you tire of it, sir.

    Get over your arrgance you narcissistic ass.

     

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  22.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 7:39am

    "The RIAA refused it because yes they wont sign the contract because the RIAA wants them to sell at competitive prices like the good boys do in the US. Which is a crock"

    No.

    If you purchased from Allofmp3 at the higher bitrates, the prices were comparable with ours.

    This is all about control - Allofmp3 sold music as plain old mp3's (or several others of your choosing) with no DRM and scalable pricing. For the RIAA to accept the collections from ROMs, they'd be validating that business model.

    It's a real shame because Allofmp3 had one of the very best sites for browsing and music discovery with Netflix style recommendations based on your purchasing.

     

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  23.  
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    Danny, Oct 22nd, 2007 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    While on the subject of fair trade and all I have to ask what the US government is standing up for when they repeatedly ignore the WTO's ruling about online gambling in relation to Antigua.

    And if it is a matter of fighting piracy then why isn't the US oppposing China since that country is home to some of the world's worst software, movie, and music pirates?

     

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