Moscow Judge Dismisses Music Download Case

Just today, a Cheryomushky District Court judge in Moscow, Russia, threw out a legal case against Denis Kvasov, former head of Mediaservices, the company behind the now defunct online store The store, which was closed in late June but reopened later under a similar rubric, has been cast as the epitome of Russia's shoddy copyright enforcement and repeatedly held up by U.S. trade negotiators as imperiling Moscow's bid to join the World Trade Organization. According to Igor Pozhitkov, the Russia representative for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, EMI Group PLC, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group Inc. sought $587,000 in damages against Kvasov; the judge ruled against the three media groups on the basis that a legal loophole that allowed the online distribution of music was only closed in September 2006, while Kvasov ended his involvement in December 2005.

Two more cases against are pending, including one against Mediaservices' current head, Vadim Mamotin, Pozhitkov said. However, Mamotin has insisted that by paying royalties to a Russian licensing group, was in compliance with Russian laws. Recording companies contend, on the other hand, that the licensing group never had the permission of music industry to collect and distribute royalties on its behalf.

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