Record Firms Sue Russian MP3 Site

US record labels Arista Records, Warner Bros, Capitol and UMG recordings have started legal action against Moscow-based Mediaservices. The lawsuit was filed in New York and claims that sites Allofmp3.com and allTunes.com are selling songs without permission. On the other hand, Allofmp3.com insists it is paying royalties to a Russian licensing body called Roms, but the music industry argues that the Russian licensing group has no authority to collect and distribute royalties. Roms says the Russian constitution gives it the right to license music to allofmp3.com, even if it has not obtained permission from the copyright holders. It also claims to collect royalty payments from the download site on behalf of record companies and artists. "Allofmp3.com's activity is quite legitimate," said Roms general director Oleg Nezus. "The opinion of foreign copyright owners is just that - their opinion," he told BBC Russian.com. Albums on the Russian site are sold for about $1 (60p) in comparison to around $10 (£6) at iTunes. Mediaservices is already having trouble with legal action in Britain while credit companies (Visa & MasterCard) have denied transactions to these sites.

News source: BBC News

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28 Comments

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Looks like we're pulling out of Iraq and going to Russia... lol

Ah, WTF, they're not after fairness or the principle of the matter... they're after that $9 and album they're missing out on.

Except now I guess the morons have lost it and are suing for $1.65 trillion. that's more than what Bush is asking for additional for Iraq.

Dad had me trying to get some Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman from the site, went to use his Visa and I guess they don't take visa and mastercard at the moment and seeing the above message confirms this. Would this be illegal for visa/mastercard to do since there's been no official rulling on such legality. Credit card companies should be deciding whats legal and whats not without the courts.

Seriously who's going to care about Glenn Miller. Grandpa's in the hospital and who's going to stcok Glenn Miller??

The sites are legal in Russia because ROMS says SOOO... shouldn't they be going after this ROMS group?

That's what makes sense on my end. Then again... I can't share the RIAA's view of this subject because I can't get my head that far up my ass.

The way I understand AllofMP3 working (from what I read in an article) is that they pay ROMS royalty fees. Then, the artists can obtain the royalties from their songs sold by contacting ROMS, but the artists are too afraid to request them as they think they are "promoting piracy." They wouldn't be "promoting piracy" if they would just collect their fees. However, the article I read might be wrong, so I'm not positive.

They can sue all they want, but if this site is successful it is because it offers what people want (which is, at least, HQ files with no DRM)

I think what they charge now for CDs is pretty unreasonable (sometimes as much as $20 after tax ) but I think that Allofmp3's pricing of $2-3 is an example of the other extreme. After factoring in Allofmp3's costs, how much of your $2 would go to the artists, assuming they actually got their royalties?

Completely off topic: I'd be perfectly fine with buying a CD for $10 and knowing that $5 would go to the artist. Won't happen, but if that were the case then I'd buy a lot more CDs than I do now.

Only think they really can do is go after people that are from the US that buy from AllOfMP3.COM. When you signup for there services you are agreeing to buy based on your own laws and you have to pay royalties to your own governing bodys. Basicly AllOfMP3 is saying if you buy from here and your not from russia your here at your own risk. They also say they can give your information to your own governing bodys i belive also.

Another way to think of this is say you buy something out of state from a website. Lets take Best Buy as a example. If Best Buy has a store in your state and your buying from a diffrent state where the website is hosted you have to pay Sales Tax. Witch Best Buy takes care of for you and handles.

But say you buy from a diffrent state and they don't take care of the taxes for you. They don't have to because there in a diffrent state. But you technicaly have to pay your state on a TAX FORM the sales tax owed. Now I know not many people will fess up to saying they pay there state sales tax later after the purchase.

Quote - ShiZZa said @ #7
Only think they really can do is go after people that are from the US that buy from AllOfMP3.COM. When you signup for there services you are agreeing to buy based on your own laws and you have to pay royalties to your own governing bodys. Basicly AllOfMP3 is saying if you buy from here and your not from russia your here at your own risk. They also say they can give your information to your own governing bodys i belive also.

Another way to think of this is say you buy something out of state from a website. Lets take Best Buy as a example. If Best Buy has a store in your state and your buying from a diffrent state where the website is hosted you have to pay Sales Tax. Witch Best Buy takes care of for you and handles.

But say you buy from a diffrent state and they don't take care of the taxes for you. They don't have to because there in a diffrent state. But you technicaly have to pay your state on a TAX FORM the sales tax owed. Now I know not many people will fess up to saying they pay there state sales tax later after the purchase.

Wait....did you really use think, instead of thing?

I'm not arguing what is and isn't legal. I'm saying that you can make an excuse for someone who isn't making money, but for someone selling others' works at a profit there is no excuse.

Sharing is one thing...it shows that you are a fan and want others to listen to your favorite songs. When you actually profit from the work of another and don't give them a penny, you've entered the realm of wrong.

Sorry, but you cant share copyrighted materials either. You can only make back-up copies for your personal use of the CD's you legally own.

Quote - Zhivago said @ #5.1
Sorry, but you cant share copyrighted materials either. You can only make back-up copies for your personal use of the CD's you legally own.

The RIAA even says thats illegal

Quote - xxpor said @ #5.2

The RIAA even says thats illegal

Yep, because if you break a CD, $$$$they want you to buy another one!!$$$$

I know everyone here loves allofmp3 and thinks that the USA is evil for this and whatnot, but I have a problem with this statement:

Roms says the Russian constitution gives it the right to license music to allofmp3.com, even if it has not obtained permission from the copyright holders

The record and movie companies are in a pickle! their products are in a digital format. With the increase of technology and speed of the internet pirating their product becomes easier and easier.

To make matters worse you really can't draw a line between sharing and pirating from a DRM standpoint. LOL, DRM seems to only hinder those that purchase these items legally.

Yes, fight a RUSSIAN company in a US COURT.

Because we all klnow the US legal system is the only one in existence.

That's because the RIAA already took care of Russia via pressure through the WTO. [SOURCE]

In most legal systems, one can file in their own home country or in the country where the alleged offender is doing business. If the other country will enforce a US decision, it makes sense to file in the US and have US ruling apply. In this case, the US is going to be far more friendlier to the RIAA than Russia since Russia has unfavorable copyright regulations. Russia will most likely enforce the US ruling due to their WTO admission. It's very sound strategy.

That's very unlikely to happen, as it would create a huge political controversy in Russia. Not to mention it would be unconstitutional (and therefore completely legal) there as the article mentions.

Is it really enough to cause huge political controversy? I'm not sure it seems evident that the Russian public would go nuts over this, but I'm not an expert on Russian politics.

I also didn't see anything in the article that outright spoke of the constitutionality of the issue as a defined fact. It read like a very very brief argument based in constitutional interpretation rather then actual stated law. Depending on what's in the Russian Constitution, their government might be able alter copyright laws without issue. i.e., The U.S. patent system was created by the U.S. Constitution, but the Constitution itself did not create each and every regulation. I would assume it's the same situation in Russia. But then again, that's just an assumption and I'm no expert.

Usually, people in Russia hate outside influence, especially from the US. So I would say the media there would have a field day with it. This would definitely give the more hardline candidate a boost for the next elections.

Quote - Jonny6pak said @ #1.1
Russia will most likely enforce the US ruling due to their WTO admission. It's very sound strategy.
Hasn't the site already been sued in Sweden and Denmark, as well as a case currently going through the English courts [all WTO members]? And has it made any difference at all?