Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
lawsuits, riaa, russia

Companies:
allofmp3, mp3sparks, riaa



RIAA Drops Allofmp3 Lawsuit; Pretends Mp3Sparks Doesn't Exist

from the maybe-if-we-ignore-our-problems... dept

It's been quite some time since we heard about Allofmp3, the Russian online music download store that offered extremely low prices on DRM-free downloads (you even got to pick your format). The company insisted that it was legal in Russia, and had all the appropriate licenses. Multiple times, the company was brought to court in Russia, and every time, it was found to be legitimate. In fact, the company even tried to pay royalties for the music it sold, but the recording industry refused to accept the payments.

However, the entertainment industry had US diplomats lean on Russia, claiming that if it didn't shut down the site, the US would block Russia's admittance into the WTO. So, eventually, Russia did shut down the site through somewhat questionable means. Of course, within minutes of it being shutdown, the company reappeared under the name Mp3Sparks. In fact, Allofmp3.com accounts worked just fine on Mp3Sparks. And, of course, there are a dozen or so other Russian online download stores that also offer the same sort of deal (and all of which are playing by Russian copyright laws).

For some reason, though, Mp3Sparks just hasn't received nearly as much attention as Allofmp3, and it seems like The Pirate Bay has taken on the role of "public enemy number 1" for the recording industry. So, it should come as little surprise that the RIAA has dropped its lawsuit against Allofmp3.com, saying that the company is now defunct, while totally ignoring Mp3Sparks.

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  • identicon
    www.custompcmax.com, 27 May 2008 @ 4:27am

    I find it so funny that they actually tried to pay royalties and they wouldn't accept it. I mean, sure, it was the recording industries terms, but atleast they were trying to compensate. That is more than most other "download" sites. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sacamano (profile), 27 May 2008 @ 4:33am

    Please..

    Don't give them any ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SteveD, 27 May 2008 @ 4:45am

    The futility of it all...

    Those who fight the legal fight don’t want to wake up and admit to the world that as long as public demand exists, these sorts of sites will exist. Even the sites that aren’t legal in Russia (like TPB) are really just managed by a small number of admins regulating a much larger community.

    You can take out the admins, but ultimately the community will just move on to the next big thing (or in the case of Oink, some bright sparks will step forward to start their own).

    It’s a supply/demand thing.

    Like the black market as long as the demand exists then the supply will be there, but unlike drugs or guns there’s little reason not to forge a business model that will produce a legitimate supply and compete directly with the pirates.

    Until then every legal victory (imagined or otherwise) will do nothing but disillusion the public further.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 May 2008 @ 5:56am

      Re: The futility of it all...

      Hear, hear.

      Meanwhile, it's also worth noting that the market demands exposed by AllOfMP3 (people want cheap, DRM-free downloads, they're willing to pay extra for higher quality rips, they like having one-stop shops unrestricted by region, etc.) are still largely unheeded by the RIAA's chosen retailers...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ima Fish, 27 May 2008 @ 5:56am

      Re: The futility of it all...

      "You can take out the admins, but ultimately the community will just move on to the next big thing..."

      Absolutely correct. The RIAA first took notice of downloading music with Napster. It sued Napster out of existence. However, true P2P programs such as WinMX, which allowed you to download the same content from multiple sources, came out of the rubble which made sharing even easier. Suddenly, people were not sharing mere songs because with the new technology you could easily share entire CDs.

      Of course those programs were eventually shut down, but then out of that rubble came Bittorrent. It is so efficient that you no longer merely download a song, or even a CD. Now people are downloading entire discographies. Not to mention full length HD movies.

      I'm actually looking forward to bittorrent sites being shut down. I'm dying to see what will come next.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SteveD, 27 May 2008 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re: The futility of it all...

        You’re right; every time the industry has managed to bring the hammer down on Piracy it’s simply evolved into something else. It’s almost like the more pressure that’s brought to bear on Pirates the faster they innovate.

        And that’s very, very strange.

        Copyright law is supposed to protect and promote innovation, yet somehow Piracy innovates faster then commercial business can keep up by completely ignoring it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2008 @ 6:58am

          Re: Re: Re: The futility of it all...

          But no one makes money off of piracy. Except terrorists.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            GoodPeace (profile), 27 May 2008 @ 8:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The futility of it all...

            #15: you forgot the children! I'm sure piracy somehow hurts the innocent children as well... :/

            Regarding mp3sparks and the likes; do any of them accept payment via paypal? I suppose most US creditcard companies still allow payments to paypal.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    some old guy, 27 May 2008 @ 4:55am

    fascinating

    My internet connection just went to rot when I tried to look at mp3sparks website, it took my 20 minutes to get a net connection again after that. coincidence? could be, sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, 27 May 2008 @ 5:23am

    Accepting payment

    Accepting payment would mean acknowledging and accepting the existence and terms of Allofmp3. They didn't and therefore wouldn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MadJo (profile), 27 May 2008 @ 6:20am

      Re: Accepting payment

      It also demonstrated the hypocrisy of the RIAA.

      And another upside was, if they had made a deal and accepted the money, they would have had a pretty strong player in the field to make better deals with Apple iTunes to name just one example of legitimate sources that the recording industry was having problems with
      (Remember the hubbub about Apple's unwillingness to give in to RIAA's demands for variable pricing in iTunes?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fritzbrown, 27 May 2008 @ 5:36am

    Last I checked MP3Sparks there was no way for U.S. citizens to purchase music as the CC companies refuse to do business with them. Which may be the reason the RIAA isn't that concerned as there aren't any workarounds this time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2008 @ 5:57am

      Re:

      Sure there are, get international CCs or use the payment systems they do authorize. It is not hard to obtain a Russian CC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael A. Vickers, 27 May 2008 @ 5:54am

    What Fritzbrown Said

    MP3Sparks/AllOfMP3 is essentially defunct if you can't get payment to them. Last I checked you had to bounce your connection through a dizzying network of proxies and pray the payment was accepted if paying from the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bah who needs one, 27 May 2008 @ 6:36am

    Why were there no new posts on Monday?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Difranco, 27 May 2008 @ 9:12am

    "....the recording industry refused to accept the payments."

    Makes sense that the RIAA refused the payments, as that would have been acceptance of AllofMP3's business model and practices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jed, 27 May 2008 @ 9:26am

    Can't pay mp3sparks?

    Due to Wikipedia I was under the impression that there was no way to pay mp3sparks and thus impossible for new users to download from them. Is that true? If so doesn't that make them mostly defunct and a waste of the RIAA's time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Chronno S. Trigger, 27 May 2008 @ 9:51am

      Re: Can't pay mp3sparks?

      Depends on how you look at it. Yes it's hard (not impossible) to buy songs from the US but what about other countries? And isn't this whole fight against piracy just a waste of the RIAA's time anyways?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jed, 27 May 2008 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re: Can't pay mp3sparks?

        I didn't look too hard, but the direct method of payment to mp3sparks is shutoff on their side. And since Wikipedia stated it as though it was a universal problem and there was no way to pay, I gave up. Evidently somebody needs to update Wikipedia.

        Yes "Piracy" (if it can be called that) is a waste of their time. But they don't see it that way. However, I can see how they feel mp3sparks is a waste now.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott, 27 May 2008 @ 12:02pm

    MP3 Sparks

    I haven't been able to upload money for almost 6 months now. If anyone knows of a way to add money to their account, I'd love some step by step instructions. Or a website that offers instructions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lars Ulrich, 27 May 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Heck, I can't even get to mp3sparks.com, NOD32 blocks it as potentially having dangerous content. Wonder who decided it was dangerous?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jed, 27 May 2008 @ 12:50pm

      Re: mp3sparks blocked

      It is blocked likely because it is now hosted in Turkey on a web host that primarily caters to spam/malware websites. Like many ISPs nod32 probably blocks the whole host. Use of a proxy might bypass both your ISP and nod32's blacklist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2008 @ 2:05am

    mp3sparks has been inaccessible for months, but I found it was back last week and since then I have been downloading albums with my leftover credit to get my money's worth before they disappear again. If I run out and they are still around, I will try to add more credit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lee, 28 May 2008 @ 6:17am

    MP3Sparks.com is DOA

    I've been an AllofMP3 customer for a few years and yes, I was able to move my account to MP3Sparks. For a while it accepted only MasterCard but now it does not allow any payments. This sucks because it was hands-down the best source for music. The odd thing is that the site appears to be working fine. It has updated music almost everyday yet none of the payment types work. I only have 23 cents left in myaccount and I'd LOVE to upload more money!

    The great think about these AWESOME music sites is that you can pick your format, bitrate and using the AllTunes app, you can download a CD at a time. I'd pay iTunes prices for this kind of service, selection and no DRM. I now use MP3Fiesta. It is lame compared to MP3Sparks/AllofMP3 but at least it takes my money!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    YO, 28 May 2008 @ 6:21am

    The RIAA needs to go screw themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pointer, 28 May 2008 @ 8:15am

    Check this out

    m p 3 s a l e -dot- r u

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Z., 28 May 2008 @ 8:45am

    This Just Proves

    ...that the music industry's pricing is still far more expensive than what the market perceives as a fair price. These sites will disappear when the pricing fits the reality of the consumer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    johnny5k, 28 May 2008 @ 8:45am

    moving on

    I used allofmp3.com for a long time; then mp3Sparks til my balance was gone. At that point I went looking, and found there are plenty more that still accept US payments. I don't know if the RIAA is going after them (not that I've heard of), but they're still working right now. If you're worried about giving up your CC number to a Russian site (you should be) use a one-time-use number most credit cards provide, to be safer. You can even get one through PayPal. www.Gomusic.ru is $0.15 - $0.20 and has most of what I'm looking for. Mp3Fiesta.com is also good, but recently raised prices from $0.10 to $0.20. Those bastards! But I still find it's worth it just to not have to rip my CD's myself. ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John T Roberts, 29 May 2008 @ 5:45am

    LOL the RIAA

    To hell with RIAA, everyone should go and download Morpheus and Lime Wire and just start snagging some music!

    JJ
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2008 @ 7:01am

    Try mp3va.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fred, 29 May 2008 @ 7:20am

    Payments to MP3Sparks are possible again

    Accourding to this source you can pay using your home phone.

    I'm gonna check it out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jim, 2 Jun 2008 @ 4:59pm

      Re: Payments to MP3Sparks are possible again

      Just tried on 6/1 to use the CMPass Pay by Call as mentioned in the article and it wont take payments form the US

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 10 Jun 2008 @ 1:15am

    Re: Payments to MP3Sparks are possible again

    I am in the USA and successfully used CMPass today June 9 2008 to add $10 to my MP3Sparks account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jess, 10 Jun 2008 @ 4:06am

    mp3sparks working fine for me here. Can top up my account using SMS at http://cmpass.com/ :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Delaney, 11 Jun 2008 @ 1:29am

    same problem in france

    I am also an mp3sparks.com user from FRANCE and we have the same problem. They don't accept credit card !! it's a pity !
    But legalsounds stills works, and it's a good site !!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mac, 21 Jun 2008 @ 3:39am

    Allofmp3 alternatives

    Have a look at allofmp3rip.com/blog for three decent alternatives

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    danthetigger, 13 Aug 2008 @ 4:38pm

    Woohoo!

    After trying every now and again for the last year to be able to get money back into my mp3sparks account (having been using the far inferior iomoio.com in the meantime) - I've finally succeeded using cmpass. So happy to be back with mp3sparks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Richard, 24 Aug 2008 @ 6:48pm

    How did you get cmpass to work?

    I've been trying to use cmpass to add funds for mp3sparks but the only option it gives to me is to use PayByCall and when I try that it says my location has been detected as US and it's not possible to use it. I would greatly appreciate any assistance!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott, 26 Aug 2008 @ 7:14pm

    site down?

    I have not been able to get on mp3sparks for two days now, anyone else having this problem or know what's going on?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Antony, 27 Aug 2008 @ 3:23pm

    I can't get there either, today or yesterday.

    Richard: I used paybycall to the france number. Took 20+ minutes for the call, but worked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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