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June 07, 2006

Allofmp3.com fights back

As Western forces surround the Russian music download site Allofmp3.com, threatening to starve them out by denying the entire country entry to the World Trade Organisation unless the music stops, Bleeding Edge has been receiving despatches from our correspondent in the front line [thanks Sean] which reveal that in the best traditions of Leningrad, the Russians are fighting back.

The deadline for the defenders seems to be September this year, when Russia replaces its existing, somewhat relaxed copyright regime. Over at Slyck News, there's a report of a statement from the owners of Allofmp3.com which suggests that they have already begun negotiations with rightholders, and have been increasing their prices to reflect payments of royalties.

According to Slyck News, the statement [which we haven't been able to find on the Allofmp3.com site] declares the following:

  1. The site AllOfMP3.com belongs to a Russian company and for 6 years it has operated within the country, in full compliance with all Russian laws. Throughout this period the various government offices have scrutinized site's legality and have not found any breach of the law. So far there has been no decision by any Russian court contesting the site's legality.
  2. The Russian site AllOfMP3.com is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of other countries.
  3. The site AllOfMP3.com does regularly transfer substantial amounts of royalties to the Russian organizations for collective management of rights such as ROMS and FAIR, which have granted the site licenses to legally deliver music through the Internet.
  4. The site AllofMP3.com reserves the right to take all steps necessary to protect its business reputation. We call upon everyone to take a thorough and unbiased view of the site's legality.
  5. On September 1, 2006 the changes to the Russian copyright legislation will come into force. Since January 2006 the site has been making direct agreements with rightholders and authors at the same time increasing the price of the music compositions and transferring the royalties directly to the artists and record companies. The aim of AllofMP3.com is to agree with all rightholders on the prices and royalties amounts by September 1, 2006.
  6. We believe in the long term and civilized business based on respecting the law, considering the customers' demands as well as the interests of both national and international rightholders.

It's signed by the Allofmp3 administration in Moscow, and dated June 6 (an auspicious date in the annals of the fight for freedom).

If the music industry had any sense, they'd co-operate. Allofmp3 offers a rapidly growing distribution method which in our opinion would quickly all but kill illegal downloads. But our experience indicates those hypocrites who run the show are intent on crushing all opposition, so they can continue to rip off music lovers and artists in the manner to which they've become accustomed.

It would be somewhat fitting, if in doing so, they forced the community to replace their model with something that doesn't hold it to ransom. It wouldn't have been the first tyrannical movement to meet its end on the Russian front.

Posted by cw at June 7, 2006 12:27 PM

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It's lovely that Russia would be blocked from being a WTO member by not adhereing to copyright laws, when China has been admitted.

It really puts the morals of the WTO into perspective when you see them admit a state which holds the population hostage by breaking many basic human rights laws, but would deny a country because of a disagreement with how they deal with Intellectual Propety.

It makes me sick when you see IP put before basic human rights.

Posted by: andy at June 8, 2006 07:00 PM