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AllofMp3.com Breaks Silence 666

An anonymous reader writes "The controversial Russian music site AllofMp3.com has fired back a return salvo on legality, royalties, and the WTO." From the article: "The entertainment industry however claims the service is flat out illegal. According to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), AllofMp3.com fails to pay artist royalties - contrary to AllofMp3.com's assertions."
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AllofMp3.com Breaks Silence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:35PM (#15484516)

    and you will be breaking the law by downloading from there

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5051826.s tm [bbc.co.uk]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:38PM (#15484533)
      Next up, the British BPI announces a royalty on having a song stuck in your head. Freedom isn't free, chaps!
      • The BPI does not set the law though.
        This holds as much weight as Bill Gates saying Linux encourages Piracy.

        By that I mean, he may be right, he may be wrong, an opinion stated loud enough frequently enough by someone sounding official will start to carry weight.
    • by Ath ( 643782 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:28PM (#15484936)
      I am not disputing whether anything is legal or illegal. However, it does a disservice to allow a private organization unilaterally classify behavior as illegal. Things are illegal when the government establishes a law making it so. In most democracies, this involves a legislature passing a law. In situation where there is gray area, which is the vast majority of day-to-day situations, there are courts to interpret and apply the specific law. You should be rather suspicious when organizations like the BPI, MPAA, RIAA, or IAPI claim behavior is illegal. Usually, they are a bit biased and often claim things as illegal when, in fact, the behavior is not illegal. Some US examples are the claims: 1) Recording television shows for private use is a copyright violation. It was and is not. 2) Ripping CDs is a copyright violation. No court has ever been asked to establish that. 3) Recording songs off the radio, making a mixed tape, and sharing it with friends. Legal and even agreed to by the RIAA when creating the Home Audio Recording Act. Only now the RIAA wants to make a distinction whether it is digital or analog content. You surely should never quote anything such organizations say as being an establishment of what is legal or illegal.
      • Using Apple Computers argument that people were downloading data, not music [guardian.co.uk] you can now use the argument that allofmp3.com is providing a data transmission service, not music.
    • "Because it is a professionally put together site it does look legitimate, although it should be obvious from the price that it isn't," Mr Phillips said.

      Simple answer - they should raise their prices to 79p/track!
  • This is scary. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by babbling ( 952366 )
    It's scary how far the US is willing to go to pressure other countries into changing their laws to suit US interests. I can almost imagine the US going to war with other countries that "don't have the same copyright laws as us".
    • Re:This is scary. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:39PM (#15484538)
      I can almost imagine that there are fat purple elephants flying around in the sky, but it doesn't mean that it's true.

      Ease up on the hyperbole.
    • Re:This is scary. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is exactly the same kind of intellectual property rights battles that have gone on regarding pharmaceuticals for the past 50 years. The drug companies have historically enjoyed, and still wield today, a great deal of power over the United States' foreign policy. Perhaps the record companies will position themselves in the same level of power in a few years?
    • Re:This is scary. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rick Zeman ( 15628 )
      It's scary how far the US is willing to go to pressure other countries into changing their laws to suit US interests. I can almost imagine the US going to war with other countries that "don't have the same copyright laws as us".

      We wouldn't give a shit if it was a Russian site stealing from Russian artists. But since it's a Russian site stealing from US artists/labels (amongst others) that's wholly a different story.
      • But are you saying that Russia wouldn't give a shit about about US sites stealing from Russian artists/labels (amongst others)?
      • Re:This is scary. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 )
        Jesus Christ. How can you make a snide remark about double standards and use the term "stealing" with a straight face.
        • Re:This is scary. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rick Zeman ( 15628 )
          Jesus Christ. How can you make a snide remark about double standards and use the term "stealing" with a straight face.

          Easily, because you read your own biases into that line. Think "what if he meant 'Show me a US site that sells pirated Russian music?'" and see how much of a double standard there is.
    • Re:This is scary. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tezkah ( 771144 )
      Who knows? The copyright industry in Canada is said to contribute about 5% of the economy so its probably slightly more in the US, and with the US outsourcing much of its manufacturing to other countries, maybe copyright will be valuable enough to go to war over someday.

      When we run out of oil, we'll probably squabble over other things. Drinking water, copyright, its all possible.
    • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:05PM (#15484660)
      It's scary how far the US is willing to go to pressure other countries into changing their laws to suit US interests. I can almost imagine the US going to war with other countries that "don't have the same copyright laws as us".

      Somewhere, this thought is giving an **AA exec a hard-on that even Viagra couldn't achieve...
    • by hagbard5235 ( 152810 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:12PM (#15484883)
      I am not really disturbed at how far the US is willing to go to pressure other countries to change their laws to protect US interests, that's what sovereign states do. What disturbs me is that our current government thinks that *this* interest is worth so much diplomatic capital.

      The global music market is only worth $32 billion [ifpi.org]. That's chicken feed really. Even assuming that US companies were making 100% of that revenue (they aren't) and that AllOfMP3.com could eliminate 100% of that revenue, it *still* isn't worth playing this kind of hardball. I'll bet EU restrictions on GM food cost US companies more money than that (please note, I am not advocating hard ball tactics over EU GM food restrictions).
      • The US gets a lot of blame here for forcing out IP ideals on other countries. The thing is, the US is not traditionally strong on copyright laws. Patent laws, yes; copyright no. The US had copyright terms of 25 years, and you had to perform formalities to keep it. Then the Europe didn't want to be friendly with us on an IP basis. So we legnthened our term to fit in with them. To this day, nearly all of Europe's copyright laws go far beyond US law. In Germany it is not possible to sell your copyright-
  • by SirFozzie ( 442268 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:39PM (#15484540)
    We don't care who you're paying..... it's not us.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:41PM (#15484550)
    Well crap. Now I'll have to make a photocopy of a $20 and send it to the RIAA for every copy of an mp3 I make. A copy for a copy, neither being denied anything, it's only fair, right?
    • It depends - do you mind being paid by your employer in the same photocopied bills? No? Why? Because you did a job and expect to get paid for it? Bingo.
      • by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:56PM (#15484622)
        It depends - do you mind being paid by your employer in the same photocopied bills? No? Why?

        Because when I produce a creative work, my employer gets the rights to it, and I may or may not have a right to license it for my own use. So I want my paycheck, and the employer might get some of it if I decide to invest in them.

        But when I buy music online, I get a copy of the music, and the only right I have is to listen to it on that device and make a backup copy. Even if I buy on a CD, I only get those rights. So why shouldn't I send them a copy of my money that they can look at and feel rich, but not give to anyonle else?

        Quid pro quo.
    • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:55AM (#15485650)
      Well crap. Now I'll have to make a photocopy of a $20 and send it to the RIAA for every copy of an mp3 I make. A copy for a copy, neither being denied anything, it's only fair, right?

      That's selfish. Make the copy of the $20 bill available as a torrent, and send the RIAA a link to it.
  • by LockeOnLogic ( 723968 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:44PM (#15484568)
    While allofmp3 is probably undercharging what would be profitable in the US, its popularity does exemplify the fact that people are willing to buy alot more music if the price is more reasonable. I for one would probably buy x10 the music I do now if I could download it (sans DRM) for 25 cents a song. When are the record companies going to wake up and smell the profits?
    • by cpsc2005 ( 629087 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:56PM (#15484617) Homepage
      When are the record companies going to wake up and smell the profits?

      Probably when they stop smelling ass due to the location of their heads.
    • They don't understand that while 99c > 25c, (99c * 1) < (25c * 10). Plus, most songs at 192k MP3 are under 10c, but as it's per meg not per song, you'll still generally pay over a buck an album. Anyways, I agree - I'd buy more music if the price was fair. In fact, the only reason that I don't use AllofMP3 now is because I'm made a bit nervous by giving my financial information to a russian website, and moreover one that's considered a bit sketchy at best and in some legal lukewarm water at the mome
  • by Durrok ( 912509 ) <calltechsucks.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:46PM (#15484579) Homepage Journal
    It is time to phase out your old business model. It is obvious from online services like iTunes and Allofmp3 that people are willing to pay reasonable prices to obtain their music online. They also need to learn that CDs are no longer the preferred format people want to listen to their music in. Of the few people I know who do go buy cds the first thing they do is stick it into their PC, rip it to MP3, and toss it either on an MP3 CD or their iPod. I know I'm just talking crazy. It makes way more sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars greasing politicians hands and suing everyone instead of spending a few million to just design and implement a download system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:48PM (#15484586)
    Didn't the RIAA/IFPI know that In Soviet Russia, the artist pays YOU?
  • Yeah,,,, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:49PM (#15484595) Homepage
    I love how they are "bad" because they fail to pay artist royalties.

    Of course, they're worried about how much money the artists make. Right. That's their casus belli right there.

    • Re:Yeah,,,, (Score:5, Informative)

      by eric76 ( 679787 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:13PM (#15484687)
      Would it make the RIAA happy if allofmp3.com contacted the individual artists and paid them their royalties?

      Of course not. The RIAA doesn't care a hill of beans about whether the individual artists are ever paid for their work. They just want to make sure that the major record companies get paid.
  • Just like the old british empire it's now the RIAA. So what is the RIAA thinking - oh those peskey fools; they foiled us again! What the artist is thinking - The pirates are coming! The pirates are coming! Oh my god the pirates are coming! What the people think - the Records are coming! the Records are coming! Oh my GOD the Records are coming! What the slashdoters think - priceless!
  • by TheChef321 ( 979436 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:17PM (#15484698) Homepage
    To me, it seems the RIAA is becoming so desperate for money that they're signing on anyone who can belt out a tune. They're doing nothing but churning out garbage and expecting people to buy it. The reality is that artists are pressured to do songs they haven't written and aren't that great just to fill out their albums in time. This makes it so there's really only 1 or 2 good songs on a CD. People are willing to pay for good songs. People aren't willing to pay $15 - $25 for a CD with 2 good songs and 9 that should not be. If the RIAA wants more money, then they'll make it in our best interest to buy CDs instead of individual songs.
  • by centuren ( 106470 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:28PM (#15484736) Homepage Journal
    From the IFPI's statement "Allofmp3.com: Setting the record straight":

    Allofmp3.com is not a legal service either in Russia or anywhere else.


    The site claims to have a licence from ROMS, a Russian organisation that claims to be a collecting society. Yet ROMS has no rights from the record companies whatsoever to licence these pieces of music. ROMS and allofmp3.com are well aware that record companies have not granted authorisation for this service.

    So is it legal under Russian law at the moment, or isn't it? If it's legal, then it's the Russian gov't at fault, not the site at all. If AllofMp3 is legal now, and they changes their business practice by the time the law changes, then it seems like they're being unfairly characterized as criminals.
    • by flooey ( 695860 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:39PM (#15484770)
      So is it legal under Russian law at the moment, or isn't it? If it's legal, then it's the Russian gov't at fault, not the site at all. If AllofMp3 is legal now, and they changes their business practice by the time the law changes, then it seems like they're being unfairly characterized as criminals.

      Considering that the Russian police have investigated them before and not filed any charges, it seems to imply that the Russian authorities feel that it's legal. Now, whether it's legal for people outside Russia to purchase music from there is something I haven't seen a lot of discussion about either way, but AllofMP3.com's business certainly appears to be legal to the extent that Russian law covers.
  • by Doytch ( 950946 ) <markpd@gmailFORTRAN.com minus language> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:37PM (#15484766)
    A lot of people download "legal" music because they want to support their artists or because they feel it's wrong to download music for free. Are these people just downloading from AllofMP3 and thinking that they're doing the right thing to alleviate whatever guilt they may feel?

    Ignorance is bliss indeed.
    • I would say it's more a case of being able to download non-DRMed music at a low price without any risk* of getting slapped with a lawsuit from the RIAA.

      *downloading via P2P there is a risk that you are caught due to the nature of P2P (i.e. RIAA have their "investigators" in the P2P networks noting IP addresses), but if you download direct from allofmp3.com then there really isnt a way that the RIAA can catch you doing that unless a) allofmp3.com logs somehow get into the hands of the RIAA (even if this happ
  • by layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:41PM (#15484776)
    "The US government officials and politicians have been demanding lately that the Russian authorities shut down allofmp3.com, alleging the site is pirate. Otherwise, they threaten Russia with sanctions, including blocking its entry to WTO."

    US trade office is willing to cut off trading relation with Russia over some lousy MP3s? So lets look at this again. What's more profitable and logical? Russia in WTO and suck down RIAA and dumbdown copyright for tit sucking MP3s? or Kick Russia out of WTO and threathen with sanction?

    All that in the name of MP3s??? Are we that fucking insane to the point of mental retardation? Oh wait, we are talking about RIAA and politicians.
  • iTunes, et, al. are trying to find the idal price for music from the high end, and AllOfMp3 is approaching it from the bottom. I would be willing to pay $4-$6 for a lossy album, roughly twice what AOmp3 sells them for. I will NOT pay $12 for a digital only, restricted, album with certain songs only available when the full record is purchased.
  • by cvos ( 716982 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:12PM (#15484880) Homepage Journal
    not sprprisingly, the massive attention has driven AOMP3 traffic through the roof Traffic Rank: 982 http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details? q=allofmp3&url=http://allofmp3.com/ [alexa.com] compared to itunes: 82,328 [lower is better] http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details? q=allofmp3&url=http://itunes.com/ [alexa.com] nothing sells like controversy
  • Moderating (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:26PM (#15484929)
    I'm trying to moderate this thread fairly, but I can't seem to find the "-1 Over-Generalizing Kneejerk and/or Poorly Thought-Out Rant" option on the list.

    This is CowboyNeal's department, right?
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:28PM (#15484937)
    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.

    I want to know what else besides the abolition of complsory license was included in this "copyright reform" to which AllofMP3 refers, but if this statement means what i think it means, this provision alone means Russia has at least partially caved to these pigopolists, and they now have the leverage they need to deliver the same unfair ultimatums they used to screw over crapster and the itunes store.. "put in drm or we refuse to license"..
  • daily operations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:59PM (#15485043)
    Well, I have some insight into the legality of these claims. Not because I claim to be a member of Allofmp3.com , but I know how they get their collection.

    Mainly because I was a target at one time.

    The story opens, I wanted to share my music collection with a small digital community with diverse origins, partly as a social experiment. So I shared with explict instructions to not put it outside of the community. Being at a university at the time 10mbit upstream was quite nice for anyone accessing this bare-bones Apache generated file listing.

    Of course, someone leaked it. It took about a month, but then I had some real leechers on my hands. Tracking the URLs that they came in from resulted in click-throughs from forums interesting in sharing out MP3 WWW sites and other niche posting locations. It didn't take long after that before I got listed on MSN search (surprise, they found me first) and click throughs started coming in from MSN and then Google with searches which matched Apache-esque strings to find people who put up pages in apache as directory listings.

    A reverse DNS of one of the biggest leechers resulted in a domain name matching allofmp3.com, I had never heard of this site before and took a look at what they were doing. I was very surprised to see they were clearly finding good content online aparrently through search engine hits of these Apache sites, and then turning around and selling it to people. Clever business model, pennys on the dollar of cost.

    So, allofmp3 and some IP in Hungary were soaking up my 10mbit/s. I got tired of this game of cat and mouse, now that I had search engine penetration this bandwidth peak never dropped. Tracking to the sites who had linked to my site I posted to take down the link. Few complied (no surprise) so a little fooling with "find", and I had a "mirror" ready.

    You get to break down what I did for fun ;-)

    find . -type f -exec ln -s /tmp/target_file.txt /tmp/fakepath/{} \;
    find . -type d -exec mkdir -p /tmp/fakepath/{} \;

    target_file.txt contained the ascii, "go away".

    After the automated bots swallowed a couple thousand of these files, someone figured it out. Tracking postings on the boards who had linked me, indeed they had gotten the message. Though I do admit it took some people 5 and 6 tries to figure it out. --- A 1kb file containing ASCII is not a MP3 file even if the extension says so dumbass.

    Eventually it stopped bcause I took the site down from existence, the domain expired, I could care less.

    I thought that I'd share this tidbit for you now anonymously, from my very publicly accessible IP address.

    So, I'd like to hear if you ran into "MP3s" files filled with "go away" recently ? :)
  • Love it (Score:3, Informative)

    by POds ( 241854 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:34PM (#15485155) Homepage Journal
    I love this site. When I was younger I used to download music or get it off friends. At the time I used to try and justify this by saying a lot of the music I was copying I had never heard and I would buy future albums of those artists.

    Now I've started downloading music again, although in not really huge quantities through this website. I download a lot of what I've never heard. One instance, I heard a track at the end of a movie that a really liked. I looked into it and I bought the entire album and the previous album by the same artist.

    The pricing structure is good. In fact I'd say fantastic. You pay for what you get and because the prices are so reasonable, you perhaps buy what you wouldn't normally as you don't necessarily care if you don't like it... each song is only 10-20 cents (Australian).

    I hope Allofmp3 get to keep their licence and artists and recording labels alike see the advantages in such a flexible pricing structure. You've got a love the fact you can also choose your codec as well as bit rate.

    Cheers AllOfMp3!
  • by pestilence669 ( 823950 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:04AM (#15485400)
    Russians don't pay the same price for music as U.S. citizens... given the (pre-war) conversion rate. They can't. What sane individual would pay their month's rent for an N-Sync album? They won't, which is why prices in less able countries are adjusted according to what they'll pay.

    The music industry is bothered by international sales. If Russians sold music to each other, then there'd be no problem. The objection to the business model comes when U.S. buyers make overseas purchases for pennies on the dollar. The site allows foreign citizens to overcome their regional price hike. A good example of this is U.K. movies and music... often much more expensive than U.S. versions of the exact same content. This is the only valid reason why DVD movies and video games continue to be region locked.

    Keep in mind, this is the same industry that sues old women who've never owned computers for downloading songs over the Internet. They can be wrong, are often wrong, and should be looked upon with the most analytical and skeptical mind. Considering the amount of money involved, they have a vested interest in coming out on top.
  • by dekket ( 786557 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:47AM (#15485503)
    As an AllOfMp3 customer, I have to agree with what most people say;
    You buy more music if its cheap.

    A year ago, I hadn't spent a dime on music for over 5 years. I spend about $50/month now. Why? Incentive. More music for your money. The same amount of music would end up at (roughly calculated,) $520 to buy the actual CDs.
    They see it as they are LOSING $520/month in sales on me alone, when they don't realize that it is BECAUSE OF the low prices that I'm spending anything AT ALL - because I couldn't afford it otherwise.

    It's a "something is better than nothing" mentality that they should be focusing on, and not the "make as much as humanly possible" kind of thing.
  • Point 2 is a lie (Score:3, Informative)

    by Duds ( 100634 ) <dudley AT enterspace DOT org> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @03:59AM (#15485788) Homepage Journal
    I like them, I use them but

    2. The Russian site AllOfMP3.com is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of other countries.

    Is a lie. If you go to their site from a UK address you get offered the chance to pay by mobile phone (UK only). That's operating and advertising as I see it.
  • Weird (Score:5, Funny)

    by Conanymous Award ( 597667 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:45AM (#15485889)
    In Corporate West, the MP3 own YOU (DRM). But in ex-Soviet Russia, YOU own the MP3. The laws of Slashdot running gags have been turned upside down!
  • Globalization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @03:15PM (#15489856)
    Big business routinely makes use of differing laws around the world to maximize profits. e.g. The labour laws in third world countries may be hell for the workers, but they keep manufacturing costs down for multi-nationals. So it's a bit hypocritcal to cry foul when members of the public engage in the same geographical law shopping. If they do not like the effects of globalisation, they can join the ranks of protesters at the next G8 Summit. And who knows, a few Executives might even be shot by overzealous riot police.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss