Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

BPI Sue AllOfMp3 In British Courts 433

Posted by Hemos
from the just-try-and-make-it-stick dept.
Ckwop writes "AllOfMp3 is getting sued by the British Phonographic Industry. From the article:
"We have maintained all along that this site is illegal and that the operator of the site is breaking UK law by making sound recordings available to UK-based customers without the permission of copyright owners. Now we will have the opportunity to demonstrate in the UK courts the illegality of this site."
" The issue of course will be whether any injunction will be enforceable or not.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

BPI Sue AllOfMp3 In British Courts

Comments Filter:
  • So they sue.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehgimpness (984446) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:52AM (#15650002)
    ... and win, are unable to enforce the verdict and therefore unable to retrieve any of the loss revenue.

    I wonder who will pay the High Court costs of the whole affair. Artists? Perhaps an increase in fees. Consumers? Without a doubt. Shareholders? Nope.
  • by Zane Hopkins (894230) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:55AM (#15650020) Homepage
    If Russian Courts can't close a russian website how does the BPI expect a British court to manage any better ?
  • by popo (107611) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:56AM (#15650028) Homepage

    I have to say that AllOfMP3 is doing something right, and it shouldn't be ignored by the music industry.

    I've spent about $200 since discovering the site a few months back. That's particularly interesting given that I've probably spent a total of $200 on music *period* in the last five years. I'm now entirely a downloader when it comes to music, and I do not listen, download or accept DRM'ed music or music that's under 320k quality.

    I'm sure I'm not alone. Rather than shutting down AllOfMP3, the industry might want to pay attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who are actually spending on music and haven't done so in years.

  • by OlivierB (709839) on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:58AM (#15650044)
    Last time Allofmp3.com went offline for a few days, the traffic surged afterwards as more people were made aware of its existence and joined in on the fun.

    If they weren't able to take down PirateBay **in the EU**, what chance have they got to take down Allofmp3 in Russia?
  • Monopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:00AM (#15650051) Homepage
    Well, of course they're suing. The global music industry would like to be able to fix prices all over the world, and it's very hard to do so when cheap alternatives like AllOfMP3 are available. Whether or not they actually have a case is irrelevant -- they have the cash necessary to pursue the suit, and will do so in order to maintain shareholder interest and control of the market.
  • Re:So they sue.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tehgimpness (984446) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:05AM (#15650089)
    Yes it has, good point well made. However; I would expect the percentage of shareholding consumers to be very small compared to consumers who are not shareholders.

    Artists as shareholders? I have no idea what sort of figures we'd be looking at there so I decline to comment.
  • shopping around... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spacemanspiff18 (883238) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:14AM (#15650144)
    The question that I have always had is this: if it is legal, and even desirable (as certain parties would argue) for consumers of labor (i.e. employers) to shop around the world for the cheapeast source of labor, taking full advantage of local conditions and legal structures, why should it be illegal for me, a consumer of music, to shop around the world for the cheapest source of music?

    And please spare me any arguments centering on making sure that artists are compensated for their work. That isn't what the recording labels are about, and the argument is particularly spurious when you consider the types of artists that are represented on allofmp3.com. Good luck trying to find a small or independent musician on there.
  • Shut them down (Score:2, Insightful)

    by emj (15659) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:14AM (#15650148) Homepage Journal
    These people basically pay no royalities at all to the muscians, and they give you a false feeling of buying legitimate stuff. I don't think this is nice at all, sure the the music industry is crooked, but these guys really are pirates for profit. They make money by selling stuff they have no right to sell.

    Allofmp3 are money hungry low lifes.

  • by mpcooke3 (306161) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:15AM (#15650160) Homepage
    I expect they are doing this for two reasons:

    A) To prove that it is illegal in britian.
    B) So that they can increase political pressure on the Russian Government. ie "AllofMp3.com is operating illegally in other countries please bring your laws in line with ours or we'll continue to impose tarrifs on XXX Russian goods." (Obviously this isn't a direct a plea by the MPAA but one made through other governments and possibly made through the WTO as the result of lobbying)
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:17AM (#15650171) Homepage Journal

    Believe it or not, neither the RIAA nor the BPA was set up to safeguard the wellbeing of Russian con artists.

    You missed the point. The point is that whoever is making the money, allofmp3.com is wildly successful, and would continue to be wildly successful at a considerably higher price point. The point is that even though people *could* download the same music for free from the P2P networks, the quality, convenience and ease of use provided by allofmp3.com convinces them to spend real money for the music. In every case I know (anecdotal evidence, but it's all we've got), the discovery of allofmp3.com caused people to *increase* their spending on music. The record industry needs to realize that it's more valuable to increase the number of dollars flowing into the system than it is to keep the price per song high, or to retain control of the distribution system. The point is that the RIAA membership should try emulating allofmp3.com, rather than shutting it down.

    They won't, of course, because they're blind.

  • by julesh (229690) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:20AM (#15650190)
    As far as I understand it, AllOfMP3.com pay for a redistribution license that's similar to what a radio station requires in most of the world -- i.e., it's ludicrously cheap, not much money goes to the artist, and you're not supposed to be able to legally make a permanent copy of the resulting "broadcast" -- but due to a loophole in Russian law are allowed to effectively sell a permanent license. So the artist probably gets a little money, but nothing like as much as they would if a copy of the record was purchased through more traditional means.
  • by Exter-C (310390) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:30AM (#15650264) Homepage
    The allofmp3.com business model is one of the best that I have seen for Online music, Lets look at what the consumer gets
    - The choice of bitrate.
    - The choice of quality (vbr/etc)
    - A choice of albums which are simply not available on other sites like itunes.
    - Reliable service, friendly staff
    - Often has new albums well before other music stores have them.
    - VERY competitive pricing.
    - NO DRM.

    Now taking into account that they apparently are not paying enough for the rights to the music or whatever it may well be, the business model works, even if I had to pay 20cents for each song or 40cents US for each song I would still go with Allofmp3.com because they offer a service to the consumer that works.I can download the music and play it where I want when I want. So here the recording companies are in a sticky spot, they know that the consumers want that model and they are trying to restrict it as much as possible. I believe in paying for music and I believe that the artists should get paid for the music but there comes a point in time when your getting ripped off, and that is how the record companies and recording industry has been for such a long time and now they are wondering why there has been such a revolt.... Here Warner is offering 2.5bn for EMI and visa versa yet will that REALLY benefit the musicians, the end user.. Hell no its only going to make share holders richer which is going to screw me, and you and whoever else listens to music.
  • by caseih (160668) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:30AM (#15650265)
    Do you have proof of this, or is this just your own opinion? Is there a documented link between organized crime and allofmp3.com? Or is this just standard prejudice against all Russian businesses?

    While the selling of western music on allofmp3.com is questionable, certainly for many Russians and people loving Russian and other foreign music who live abroad, allofmp3.com is the *only* source for a lot of foreign (Russian, Ukranian, etc) music. You cannot buy Hi-Fi on CD in an american store. Nor can you find a lot of this kind of music on the download networks. It's just not there. For these people, allofmp3.com is a godsend.

    One thing that allofmp3.com demonstrates is that people are willing to spend money (a lot of money) on music when you can offer the music in the formats that *the customers want*. From what I've seen allofmp3.com provides sufficient value to customers that it is actually cheaper to buy from allofmp3.com than to download from the peer-to-peer networks. I even find that it's easier and cheaper for me to buy albums off of allofmp3.com than to even rip my own CDs. That's the kicker. And that's the thing the RIAA has failed to grasp. Even at 10 cents a track and without any DRM, they could be making a fortune.
  • Shut who down? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes (861706) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:33AM (#15650288) Journal
    These people basically pay no royalities at all to the muscians, and they give you a false feeling of buying legitimate stuff.
    Interesting how that sentence applies equally well to AllOfMP3 and the conventional recording industry.
    They make money by selling stuff they have no right to sell.
    Again, this applies equally well to the two of them. The record labels in North America claim that they have legally valid contracts that give them the right to make a profit off of the creations of certain artists. I question the morality of what they are doing, but yes it's legal in the country they operate in.

    AllOfMP3 claim that they have the legal right to make a profit off of the creations of certain artists, in compliance with Russian copyright law. You question the morality of what they are doing, but yes it's legal in the country they operate in.

  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:34AM (#15650290) Homepage Journal

    So.... RIAA is "blind" and should not only allow AllOfMp3 to continue its' illegal activities, but EMULATE them? What should they do, sell pirated copies of Stephen King's e-books?

    I sure hope you're actually trying to miss the point, because if you're doing it unintentionally... wow.

    No, the RIAA members should put up their own site(s) using the same model as allofmp3.com to sell their music. They'd wipe out ITMS in a heartbeat, kill most music sharing on the P2P networks and make a boatload of money. But they won't, because they're blind.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:37AM (#15650324)
    > None of that $200 has gone to the artists, it's all gone to Russian criminals. And you're happy with this?

    None of that $200 would have gone to the artists anyways, it all goes to the RIAA mafia. Why are you happy with that?

    > See, the industry is actually only interested in people paying money for music if that money is going to the industry and the artists. Believe it or not, neither the RIAA nor the BPA was set up to safeguard the wellbeing of Russian con artists.

    See, the industry is actually only interested in people paying money for music if that money is going to the industry, and to hell with the artists. Neither the RIAA nor the BPA was set up to safeguard the wellbeing of any artists.

    Fixed it for you.

    The Russian mob is providing better product, at a better price, than RIAA, who are merely the the government-approved mob in charge of the US music racket.

    The situation is eerily similar to the Numbers Game [wikipedia.org], in which the (Italian) Mafia ran a gambling operation that took in a rake of 20-40%. They were promptly run out of business for the (government) Mafia, wherein the "legal" lotteries take in a rake of 50% and higher. The private mob gave better odds of winning to bettors, but the government's mob had the guns.

    When Fedland collapses, I'm moving to an American Mafia town. Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizza for the win!

  • Re:Shut who down? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cliffski (65094) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:45AM (#15650391) Homepage
    hold on, I was a musician once, I have seen a record contract. They arent written in 0 point type, or in a foreign language, its quite blatant the terms on which you sign (i chose not to), and many artists are more than happy to do so. And many artists DO make a considerable sum of money from the system. OF course, many are ripped off, and you can argue that the system is weighed too heavily in favour of the record companies (which is true), but that doesnt mean its fair for a website to sell something they dont own, and quite clearly not pay the artists ANYTHING.
    Even in a situation where the artist's royalties havent paid back their advance and not made a dime, they still got flown around the world, went to wild parties and got fed and put up in great hotels at the record companies expense. I dont see this russian website donating money towards recording studio fees, do you?

    Criticising the record biz is fine with me, its when people sue the lack of perfect competition in that industry to justify wholesale copyright theft, as a thin excuse to get cheap or free music, that it bugs people.

    There is no law preventing unsigned artists releasing their music for free on the web. The fact that most choose not to shows that they *do* actually want to be paid for their work.
  • by kickdown (824054) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:57AM (#15650492)
    I'd mod you Insightful if only I had modpoints.
  • by BigDork1001 (683341) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:03AM (#15650528) Homepage
    A month or so ago when they hit the news was the the first time I'd heard of allofmp3.com and since then I've spent at least $100 there. Before that... I probably hadn't spent $100 on music in the last three years. And I wouldn't have purchased any of the music I did if it weren't for the website.

    I could go out and download it all for free but I'm lazy and it can be a hassle to find good quality mp3s, not to mention a whole CDs worth. Allofmp3.com has it all right there for a really great price.

    If it weren't for the RIAA/BPI and all going after the site I'd never have found it. They sure are doing a great job of stopping piracy. If they never made such a stink over it I doubt they'd be getting as much business as they are now. Oh well... their loss, my gain.

  • by prof_vestanpance (629108) on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:14AM (#15650600)
    They don't need to get the site shut down. If they can prove that the site is illegal in the UK then they can either go after people who use the site or force UK isp's to block access to the domain for their users.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:35AM (#15650751)
    But what's the right price point?

    Most full albums are selling for less than $2. And it's the content owners that get to set prices, not a web site. That's the problem. And complex international legality and copyright issues aside, they don't really own the content - they're treating themselves as if they're a radio station that lets people download whatever they want, whenever they want, and keep it. This isn't really about "failing business models" or anything of the kind.

    The real question is this, and try to answer it without muddying the waters with talk of copyrights and the thuggery of trade groups: when, how, and under what circumstances are the people who CREATE and/or OWN content allowed to set pricing on their own materials? Remember that record labels, however good or evil you think them, have legitimate ownership of the content within the bounds of society's frameworks on such matters. Other countries and jurisdictions may view the issue differently, but ultimately, there can't be entities that decide it's up to them to undercut others' rights.

    Try to think of yourself as, say, and author, and a new Russian site called AllOfBook.com opens, and sells your book without your permission or that of your publisher for about 1/10 or 1/20 of what it sells for elsewhere. (Yes, I realize that AllOfMP3.com believes it has a license to do this legally, but that is arguably AT MOST valid only in Russia, besides which, let's just forget about that for a moment.) Is what they're doing right? Is that just part of the cost of doing business? "Oh well"? What if they also sold pre-printed hard copies of your book (the essentially equivalent of selling lossless DRMless audio content)? What inherent rights do you think you, or the people who help print, distribute, publicize, and sell your work, have to that work product? Can someone else take it because a legal interpretation in their country allows them to make that decision for you not only in their jurisdiction, but the entire world over?

    Your point that you've spend money on music when you never have before is valid. But would you have spent as much if the full albums were $4? $8? $10? What if $2 isn't enough to sustain the current production models for music? I realize that there's this desire to say "change your business model, then!" or "they'll make up for it in volume, since this is electronic distribution!" But what if they DON'T WANT to sell it for $2? Isn't that their choice, and your choice to not buy it? Do you think AllOfMP3.com, aside from your PERSONAL opinions on the RIAA, BPI, etc., could exist in the US or EU legally? If not, why should people in those places be able to buy from it?

    I suppose at some level you can always argue that you personall disagree with copyright, or with the big record labels and trade groups, or that artists are abused in the current system, or that politicians' hands are in the pockets of the industry, and so on and so on and so on.

    But it still continues to ignore basic thing: even if you erase all that, do you still believe that the creator of a work should have some rights to that work, including the choice of how much to ask in return for that work?

    If you say yes, then we're getting somewhere. If you say no, I don't think this discussion would prove fruitful.

    But if you've said yes, consider:

    - That a society's legal framework may offer protections for such work, and punishments for not following those guidelines.

    - That an artist may elect to involve others in the distribution, sale, promotion, packaging, and so on, of his work, and that those entities may be entitled to protections and remuneration as well.

    - That there may be agreements between nations that attempt to insure that such work isn't sold for orders of magnitude less than what the creator and/or their agents intends to sell it for.

    I could, of course, continue. So I guess the ultimate question is this, and forget about all the trade groups, labels, posturing, "information wants to be free", and all the other crap that always swirls around this debate: does a creator have the right to ask what he or she so desires for compensation?

    (And the followons: If so, what if a site like AllOfMP3.com is too low? Etc.)
  • Here's the link (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:38AM (#15650766)
    Hey, I suppose I should provide the link, shouldn't I?

    http://www.jdray.com/Daviews/courtney.html [jdray.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @11:38AM (#15650769)
    I guess if this case were won, then it would imply that it should be possible to prosecute someone under Islamic law for something wearing 'too revealing' clothing, and making an image available to someone in say Afghanistan. It would be a nonsense if this case were decided in favour of the Record Industry Mafia.
  • by NulDevice (186369) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:28PM (#15651064) Homepage
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    When my band's album sells, you know how much money from the sale goes to the RIAA?

    Absolutely nothing.

    The label I'm on is not an RIAA member. In fact, the vast bulk of indie labels aren't. For every CD sold, we get $2.50. That's a pretty awesome deal. Granted, we don't get a studio advance, and we don't sell thousands of albums, but...still.

    So it pains me that allofmp3 sells my stuff and gives me, or the label that works so hard to promote my music, nary a red cent. It pains me even more that people repeatedly justify buying from such a place with statements as "the artists wouldn't see any of it anyway" or "it's the RIAA's fault."
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:31PM (#15651083)
    There are still problems with that line of reasoning: the artist entered an agreement in good faith with their own record company. Part of that good faith agreement is that the record company will have a series of agreements that allow for distribution internationally, and management by partners, subsidiaries, and/or other trade groups in other countries. If you disagree with that system, that's fine. I guess you can "revolt" against it. But wouldn't revolting against it compromise something more than buying music you personally like from a web site run by the Russian mob?

    And to your last point, yes, of course they don't have the right to obtain what they ask for. But then you don't get to just take it, or buy it from someone who took it from them. I'm really not trying to be an ass, here, but do you even remotely see where I'm coming from?

    Please note that I don't particularly like the big trade groups either. Many things they do are all about control (then again, that's their job). But there are gray areas here. It's not as if the artists are helpless, they get nothing, and everything any record label does above some arbitrary size is "wrong".

    When effortless digital reproduction came along, it wasn't that anyone's "business model" failed. It's not that simplistic. The digital world represented new technologies that made certain things easier, but easy doesn't always equal right. In a world where content that someone's invested millions in can be appropriated for nothing by teenagers, why don't you think they'd try to protect it? If the answer is that trying to protect it is wrong, then should they just close up shop?

    I wouldn't have nearly as many problems with these arguments if it weren't for the fact that all of the ultra-popular US artists and bands are up on AllOfMP3.com...the very artists who wouldn't exist, in that form, if it weren't for the business model of the system that people apparently think "failed". If you want them to close up shop and everyone should just be independent, fine. But those arists still should have control. And those artists might have agents who act on their behalf. And companies. And maybe even companies that have agreements with other companies in other nations. At what point does it become "okay" for a third party to take their product and sell it for ten times less? Why can't anyone in that camp see anything wrong with that? It's almost as if it's a binary opposition, where someone things what the RIAA does is universally "wrong", and AllofMP3.com is "right", and there's no in-bewteen.
  • by julesh (229690) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:46PM (#15651190)
    "There's no such thing as bad press"

    Particularly not when that press has a picture in the top corner of the article with the caption "the website offers Keane's number one album for less than a pound". That sounds almost like an advert to me.

    If they weren't able to take down PirateBay **in the EU**, what chance have they got to take down Allofmp3 in Russia?


    I'm not sure they're aiming for a takedown. I suspect they're aiming to seize assets, which is much easier.
  • Re:So they sue.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ravear (923203) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:39PM (#15652286)
    Has it ever occurred to you that many artists and consumers are shareholders?
    How did this get modded up? It doesn't matter if the consumer & the shareholder are the same individual. Point here is the fees are targetted towards a specific group. The shareholder may end up buying something, but the hurt is aimed at the record prices, not his portfolio.
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Monday July 03, 2006 @09:04PM (#15654081) Journal
    The only problem with AllOfMP3 "going legal" is that I can promise you, with 5 nines of certainty, that part of going "legit" would involve losing the one thing that makes it more palatable to me(and, I suspect, many others) than, say, iTunes: they'd be required to DRM the shit out of the files.
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:37AM (#15655850) Homepage Journal
    .... for 35 dirty bucks.

    Musicians play and meet their fans, they sing, play, compose and perform.

    A "recording artist" is not such. People expecting to make a living from recordings are dishonouring the profession.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.

Working...