Law Targets Russian Music-Sharing Site; Artists Haven't Received Royalties

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 2, 2006 | Go to article overview

Law Targets Russian Music-Sharing Site; Artists Haven't Received Royalties


Byline: Michael Mainville, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

MOSCOW - It's slick, easy to use and, most of all, ridiculously cheap.

But anti-piracy groups are hoping that a law that took effect last month will shut down Allofmp3.com, a notorious Russian Web site that has become one of the most popular destinations worldwide for music downloaders.

Allofmp3 offers song downloads for as little as a penny and has an extensive back catalog of music ranging from classic jazz to the latest pop.

Bob Dylan's new album, "Modern Times," is selling on the site for $2.51, compared with a $9.90 price tag on Apple's ITunes.

The site won't disclose how many people are using it, but analysts say hundreds of thousands are logging on every month from North America and Europe.

"Allofmp3.com are the most arrogant and aggressive copyright violators that we know of," said Igor Pozhitkov, the Russian director of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a group that represents recording giants such as Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI.

The site consistently ranks among the top 1,000 Web pages visited on the Internet and this year became Britain's second most popular music download site after ITunes, according to market research firm XTN.

Music industry executives say Allofmp3 can sell music so cheaply because it is operating illegally by not paying royalties to recording companies or artists.

Anti-piracy groups and U.S. trade officials have long complained about Russia's failure to crack down on music, film and software pirates.

According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, American companies lost nearly $1.8 billion in revenues last year because of piracy in Russia, which ranks second only to China in global piracy studies.

The Russian regulations, which were passed two years ago but did not take effect until Sept. 1, gives works distributed on the Internet the same protections as those published in traditional formats. …

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