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RIAA Members Sue Allofmp3.com Over Infringement 323

Posted by Zonk
from the long-time-coming dept.
fair_n_hite_451 writes "To the surprise of no one, several members of the RIAA have filed suit against MediaServices, the operators of Allofmp3.com. The suit was filed for Wednesday, primarily by Arista Records LLC, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Capitol Records Inc. and UMG Recordings. The language of the litigation was very confrontational; The companies claim the site sells millions of songs without paying them 'a dime'. 'The defendant's entire business ... amounts to nothing more than a massive infringement of plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act and New York law.' AllofMp3 has always maintained that a Russian licensing group makes their business legitimate, while the RIAA here claims the organization has no authority to make such a deal."
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RIAA Members Sue Allofmp3.com Over Infringement

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:38PM (#17328266) Homepage Journal
    Its obvious why they haven't paid a dime:

    Russians pay in Rubles and kopeks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ngarrang (1023425)
      So....shouldn't RIAA being suing the licensing organization, instead? Oh, right, the American philosophy is to file a suit shotgun style and see how many people to whom you can get it to stick.
  • by RelliK (4466) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:40PM (#17328302)
    The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in New York

    Yeah. Good luck with that.

    • by melikamp (631205) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:49PM (#17328456) Homepage Journal

      My sentiment exactly. I lived in Russia long enough to understand how this cookie crumbles. I cannot predict the outcome, for it depends on many things. I just want to note that, unfortunately for RIAA, it does not depend on the law. It mostly depends on two things:

      1. How much a decision will piss off the USA (the more--the better).

      2. The amount of a bribe. This seems to be in RIAA's favour, but I have a feeling that (1) might play a bigger role here.

      • by melikamp (631205)

        I am a bit off-topic here. What I said concerns the decision made in Russia. Whether or not RIAA will win the NY case will have about as much impact as the case against De Beers. At worst, the company's operations will be declared illegal in US, but the consumer will shrug and resume downloading.

        • What I never understood is why anybody would use this service. I mean you can find high quality songs in multiple formats and of questionable legality for free on p2p. So along comes AllOfMP3 and offers me high quality songs in multiple formats and of questionable legality, but they want me to pay. At least on a p2p network, you didn't initially pay for songs that the RIAA might sue you for anyway.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by recursiv (324497)
            Because it's convenient and requires no specialized software. I can use it at work.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Maxo-Texas (864189)

            It's a very convenient service for the price.
            The price is a reasonable price and closer to what I feel a "fair" price for songs.
            The service is excellent, very quick.

            Legally- you are ONLY downloading (none of that p2p uploading while you download stuff) so you are not infringing copyright.

            It has a great selection compared to p2p.

            I can SELECT the quality level I want and the price I want to pay from a 3meg mp3 to a 27 meg wav file.
          • by xsuchy (963813)
            > What I never understood is why anybody would use this service.

            Why? Because when you buy it, you have it legaly (as far as I understand Anglo-Saxon laws). RIAA can not sue you. They can sue AllOfMP3 (which they try), but it'll be hard, because they operate legaly in russia. Why it is legal? I give you brief explanatory how it work in my country (Czech Rep.), which have similar laws like Russian.

            We had organization called OSA which stand in for all musicans (unless they opt out). And when you operate rad
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:41PM (#17328308) Homepage Journal
    Check the organization that allofmp3.com claims has given them the right to do what they are doing. If the organization is legitimate, and has doucmented everything correctly, then the RIAA hasn't a leg to stand on.

    If the organization is not legitimate or doesn't have the proper paperwork, the RIAA wins.

    Instead of litigating this to death, just show the damn paperwork and prove your point.
    • by novus ordo (843883) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:05PM (#17328718) Journal
      Allofmp3 was legal until this [wikipedia.org] legislation passed by Putin. Also with the recent spy scandals and Putin's dissolution of democratic institutions one has to be concerned. All Putin wants to do is join the WTO [theregister.co.uk] and RIAA is waving the USA stick with the help of their big pockets. Gotta love capitalism and free markets...
  • by Bright Apollo (988736) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:42PM (#17328326) Journal
    ... because AllofMP3 does what Napster and Rhapsody and iTunes cannot: offer a comprehensive music catalog at reasonable rates. To wit: if you really like jazz, this is the only place to find nontrivial Art (or Chet!) Baker, Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich, Charles Mingus, or Dave Brubeck.

    Is it illegal according to US law? Sure. Do I care? No. This is the modern equivalent of civil disobedience. Call it corporate disobedience: the ad infinitum extensions of copyright protection for works of long-dead artists, as a benefit to corporate parents, says the balance of power is most assuredly in the hands of the sociopathic corporate citizenry and not the voting public. The weapons I have against Big Business are economic, and this is just the first of many conflicts to come, all along the same lines.

    Just mull it over. Corporate disobedience might be the only option now.

    -BA

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by The_Spud (632894)

      ... because AllofMP3 does what Napster and Rhapsody and iTunes cannot: offer a comprehensive music catalog at reasonable rates

      And the reason they can offer such 'reasonable' rates is that they are not paying the copyright holder for the rights. I fail to see how giving money to the Russian Maffia is sticking it to the man or Corporate disobedience. You seem to be very proud that you paid money for pirated music that you could have got from filesharing networks for free with the exact same legality.

      • by NiceGeek (126629) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:08PM (#17328756)
        Actually they do pay the money to ROMS - all the RIAA has to do is prove ownership and ROMS will hand them the cash. The RIAA would rather sue it appears.
      • by m0rph3us0 (549631) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:12PM (#17328804)
        Copyright is artificial scarcity and thus economic manipulation by the gov't for the promotion of one sector over another. (Think min wage laws, rent control, farm subsidies, taxes for various industries) Ironically, the Russian government does not interfere with the free market in this sector as much as other nations. It isn't "pirated" music in the same way that going to Amsterdam to smoke pot isn't a violation FDA rules on restricted drugs. What they are doing is importing music that was copied in a region with lower production costs. The RIAA calls it piracy because the Russian government values other industries more than music companies.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It isn't "pirated" music in the same way that going to Amsterdam to smoke pot isn't a violation FDA rules on restricted drugs.

          Actually, (getting completely off topic now), I seem to recall (although I'm too lazy to try to find a link online) that you can actually be arrested for violating US law outside the country once you return. I think it's mostly used against people who visit Thailand to partake in certain "services" which are very very illegal here, but I would assume the same precedent could be ext

      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        And the reason they can offer such 'reasonable' rates is that they are not paying the copyright holder for the rights.

        Another reason is that they don't offer customer support. I paid for three albums and downloaded them all only to find out that the second two albums were full of NULLs. Several emails to their customer support went unanswered.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:58PM (#17329546)
        Don't knock the Russian Mafia, they've got more ethical business practices than most US based multinationals.
    • by Liselle (684663)
      I'm not entirely convinced that Thoreau would share your view that protesting copyright law by obtaining cheap entertainment for yourself is somehow civil disobedience.

      I think he would support the breaking of the DMCA and the like, though. Just IMHO. I think your justification is hollow because you profit personally from it, and your actions are the same as plain-jane music pirates.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah, and if he gets sued by the RIAA, he'll be the first one to cry foul.

        If he wants to be "Civil Disobdient", he should try to download his music with his real name and write a letter to the RIAA saying "Come and get me!"

        • by EzInKy (115248) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:13PM (#17329776)

          Yeah, and if he gets sued by the RIAA, he'll be the first one to cry foul.

          If he wants to be "Civil Disobdient", he should try to download his music with his real name and write a letter to the RIAA saying "Come and get me!"


          Just as those who drank during prohibition wanted to hide their activity, those who share music today want to hide theirs. Civil obedience or not, the result is the same...an ignorant law gets ignored.
      • I buy there because its DRM free and I can get it in any file format I want. If they charged 50 cents a track, I'd still buy there ($1 is ridiculous for lossy audio, I'd pay it for FLAC files, but not for OGGs or MP3s). Its about the DRM for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rovingeyes (575063)
      Corporate disobedience might be the only option now

      If it already is not a crime in America, just wait, it'll soon be

    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:09PM (#17328760)
      Reasonable rates by whose definitions? Yours? I'd like a new Corvette for $10,000 - I think that's reasonable. That doesn't mean that I should be able to justify buying a stolen one for ten grand.

      Listen, I don't like the RIAA, either, but THEY get to decide how much they want to sell their product for, and your (moral) choices are "Do I pay this?" or "Do I not pay this?". "Do I pay 1/5th the amount to someone who gives nothing back to anyone who made an investment into this music" is not a valid moral option. Until more artists start selling their own stuff directly, this is going to be the way it is, and you can justify your actions any way you want, but that still doesn't make them right.
      • by FreezerJam (138643) <smith@@@vex...net> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:34PM (#17329170)
        "... THEY get to decide how much they want to sell their product for..."

        Not always, and not always even in the U.S.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutory_license [wikipedia.org]

        Similarly, in Canada I can fill a CD with music copied from other CDs because the levy (C$0.21 per CD, built in to the price) goes to a copyright collective. More to the point -- if it's music on a CD, the owner CAN'T legally prevent me from making that copy. This is true even if I don't own the CD; I can borrow the original from a friend, make my copy, and return it.

        There are many places under copyright strictures where the copyright holder doesn't get all the say they want or think they have.
      • by BitHive (578094)
        Do I really need to point out the tired fact that copying mp3s doesn't deprive anyone of anything whereas stealing their car does?
        • by IflyRC (956454)
          Wow!

          Copying that mp3 is just like walking into a record shop, opening up a product, burning a copy of that product and putting it back on the shelf re-shrink wrapped. Walking out without paying but having the "data" that was contained on that CD.

          Who did you just deprive from something?

          1) The retailer

          2) The record label

          3) The artist

          ..and the list goes on and on. Please, if we ever meet...warn me not to let you visit my house. I'd be worried you'd steal from me as you have no clue what theft
      • by garcia (6573)
        If you can buy it in Russia for $10,000 and pay the importation fees (Internet access), then I don't see what the problem is.

        I am absolutely uninterested in the "plight" of the RIAA's members and their "financial woes". Cry me a fucking river you millionaire bastards.
      • by Bandman (86149)
        Ya know, if you buy a stolen Corvette, the legal purchaser of that Corvette has last their car.

        If I download music that someone copied, the person I copied it from still has it. If I wasn't going to buy it anyway, no resource was consumed except electricity and bandwidth.

      • Producing another brand new Corvette: I'm guessing $20,000 worth of parts, just spitballing. Then shipping the damn thing costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

        Reproducing another copy of a CD for network consumption: $.10 worth of bandwidth or so, tops.

        Having a free market where goods are priced competitively from multiple suppliers: priceless

        Too bad you can't buy allofmp3 songs with Mastercard (TM).
      • Reasonable rates by whose definitions?
        How about reasonable compared to cost/effort needed to duplicate?

        BTW, any metaphors comparing made-up, fictional, so-called intellectual property to real, defendable, actual property will fail. Every time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ben there... (946946)
        The article also grossly exaggerates the savings buying from allofmp3.com:

        AllofMP3 typically charges under $1 for an entire album and just cents per track. By contrast, an album at Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store and other licensed services typically costs about $10 and a song 99 cents.

        What they don't mention is that the price is variable based on bandwidth, and the $1/album figure is basically impossible to find on the site.

        I just randomly checked Taylor Hicks' album [allofmp3.com] (not a fan of his). It is 12 t

    • by Bandman (86149)
      Just to let you know, I really like the phrase "corporate disobedience"
    • by M0b1u5 (569472)
      I concur.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:43PM (#17328348)
    PLEASE DEAR GOD let this become a fight between the RIAA and the Russian Mafia.

    Russian Mafia FTW!
  • by TheRecklessWanderer (929556) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:44PM (#17328374) Journal
    My subject says it all.

    Why is the RIAA trying to sue someone in another country. The US has no jurisdiction.

    Does the site have a presence in the US? Well? If it doesn't then they can get bent. Now they can go after all the people who paid the site to download songs, but not the site in Russia.

    Please America, don't try to bring your horrible legal system to the rest of the world. We don't want it.

    • Since when does German law [findarticles.com] apply in other countries?
      Since when does French law [com.com] apply in other countries?

      I'm pretty sure I could come up with a few other things as well. Oh yes, in this particular case it might be since Russia started to join the WTO.
      • OH man, I don't even know where to start. OK, lets sum this up.

        1. US law has nothing to do with "international law". International law consists of treaties. Only treaties signed by states is "binding" on that particular state. The WTO is not an organization based on US law.

        2. In terms of international law, each body is a sovereign state, and is completely independent and free to do what it wants except as bound by the treaties that it is a signatore to. (Get it?)

        3. Civil suits within the bound

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jahudabudy (714731)
          Ok, all three of your arguments fall under "Sovereign states get to determine their own internal affairs. They don't have to do what any other state tells them if they don't want." Technically, true. Realistically, not so much. Sure, independent states can do what they want. But if you piss off the powers that be, you don't get to play in the global economy, import goods, export goods, etc., depending on how pissed they get. That's what Russia joining the WTO has to do with this: the WTO (which is pre
    • by Ogive17 (691899) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:56PM (#17328560)
      It matters when US citizens are members of this service. I have one friend who is a member and even she thought it was a bit fishy... but she was paying $10 or $15/month for unlimited downloading. I assume this is how they are going after the company, because they provide their service in the United States.

      And slightly off topic, our legal system does a pretty good job. The only change I would like to see done is to make plantiffs pay all court costs/legal fees if the defendant was proven to be non guilty in a civil matter. That would fix so many problems.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You can be sure that the contract (if there is one) is under the jurisdiction of russian law, not US law. Like I said in my post, if US citizens are involved, then they are liable, perhaps, but the russian entity is not. As to the slightly off topic... There is no good legal system. The US system is so backlogged and so top heavy its insane. Remember that case where the women spilled hot coffee on herself and sued (I think it was mcdonalds), so now they have to put warnings on their coffee cups that sa
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Duds (100634) *
        She wasn't a member of allofmp3 then, they don't do unlimited downloading for a set fee any more than itunes does.
    • Why is the RIAA trying to sue someone in another country. The US has no jurisdiction.

      You're right, but AllOfMP3 won't show up or if they do will lose, so RIAA will win in court. With this victory, they will get the Bush administration to lean more heavily on Russia to "do something".

      Please America, don't try to bring your horrible legal system to the rest of the world. We don't want it.

      I'm American and I admit we are too litigious and everything here is always somebody else's fault. However, the more
      • I fail to see how your explanations make the American legal system better... you seem instead to be saying that the american justice system is punitary instead of correctional. I can assure you; American punitary jails are much different places than the correctional facilities in use in the countries you listed.

        Something else to think about... 29 years is a long time. People change a lot in 29 years. If someone is a serial rapist, gets caught when they're 29 (and is placed in a holding facility) and go

      • OK we are talking a bit of apples and oranges, I'm talking the civil and your talking the criminal. I should perhaps have been more specific.
    • by tshak (173364) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:50PM (#17329400) Homepage
      Does the site have a presence in the US? Well? If it doesn't then they can get bent.

      It's called "international copyright law". In parciular, the Berne Convention [cornell.edu], was not developed in the US, but was an international effort. Russia is a member of the Berne Union. The RIAA, hate them as I may, clearly has grounds to file a suit here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Why is the RIAA trying to sue someone in another country.

      Because the RIAA thinks their legal rights are being violated.

      The US has no jurisdiction.

      The US, as do most soveriegn nations, exercises jurisdiction over violations of its laws wherever in the universe they may occur. It may, by its own law, restrict the territorial applicability of its laws, and, of course, successful litigants may have trouble executing judgements against foreign actors, but that's a different issue.

      Anyhow, Americans didn't start

  • by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:45PM (#17328392)
    The companies claim the site sells millions of songs without paying them 'a dime'.

    You'd have thought that allofmp3.com would just hand over the dime.
  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:48PM (#17328432)
    AllofMP3.com pays the correct proceeds under Russian law to ROMS (Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems a.k.a. similar to the RIAA in Russia). ROMS is a non-for-profit organization that handles all copyright payment transactions in Russia, including collecting for foreign interests. All the money is held until it is requested by the appropriate parties with proof that they are the correct owners of the copyrighted material. All requests can also be retro-active requests for payment, (i.e. if you have been the owner of the work, and have not received your cut for the last 4 years, you simply request that you receive your payments for the entire time that you have been the copyright owner).

    The RIAA knows this and so do their member groups. The issue is that they do not want to request the payment because they think doing so will give legitimacy to places like AllofMP3.com who are following the Russian rules to copyright payments. The RIAA does not like the Russian rules and seeks to circumvent them. By not requesting for their payments they are trying to use that as a means for the lawsuit(s) you are now witness to over the last few months against different Russian sites.
    • by Panaflex (13191) *
      Heh, it's kindof funny.. back in the 80's some Music Artists put up FarmAid to help offset the effects of a "global economy" upon commodity food prices...

      Who's going to feel sorry for (arguably) a bunch of lawyers though?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shark72 (702619)

      "(Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems a.k.a. similar to the RIAA in Russia)."

      Not really. A much closer analogy would be our BMI or ASCAP. Allofmp3 is working their magic by paying the licensing rate for broadcasts. Here in the US, it is BMI and ASCAP who collect money for broadcast licensing. BMI and ASCAP represent artists and are unaffiliated with the RIAA.

      FWIW, despite the fact that ASCAP and BMI are run by and for artists, they are often just as hated by Slashdotters as is the

  • by slobber (685169) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:49PM (#17328450)
    Even if they manage to shut allofmp3.com down, they'll be playing a Russian version of whack-'em-all for a while. Check out its sister site alltunes.com [alltunes.com] - you should even be able to transfer your credits from allofmp3 there.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      I believe you mean a Russian version of whack-a-mole [wikipedia.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ben there... (946946)
      You can "transfer" (spend) them over there now. AllTunes is the software for browsing AllOfMp3.com's catalog. It is the same company. Same catalog. Different browsing/download method.
  • I heard this on NPR this morning while I was driving to work—my first thought: "well duh". Must be a slownewsday for everyone...

    Quick! Someone shoot someone!
  • I hereby stake my claim to a monopoly on the distribution of "virtual reality" entertainment, including but not limited to "holodeck simulations", direct neural links, etc.

    Just because none of the entertainment companies I represent offer these forms of entertainment at a price the marker is willing to pay or in a format that the public desires does not mean I am not entitled to vast sums of money!

    Middle-men of the world unite!
  • Unenforceable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ruvim (889012)
    And how does RIAA expect to enforce New York's court order (if such would be obtained) on Russian soil?
  • by Harlockjds (463986) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:59PM (#17328610)
    ~he companies claim the site sells millions of songs without paying them 'a dime'

    bullshit i remember paying a dime for 10-100 songs from allfomp3 ;)
  • Maybe I misheard.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChowRiit (939581) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:59PM (#17328614)
    Now this is, admittedly, hearsay, and I've not gone to look for collaboration:

    What I'd heard is that allofmp3 PAYS royalties, but the American firms refuse them, as they're "not enough". So when they accuse them of not paying a dime, it's because they won't accept the payments, more than anything else... Can anyone confirm/deny this?
    • by shark72 (702619) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:19PM (#17328940)

      "What I'd heard is that allofmp3 PAYS royalties, but the American firms refuse them, as they're "not enough"."

      Well, one issue is that by law, composers and songwriters must be payed "mechanical royalties" which are typically $0.08 per track. That is, of course, much less than ROMS is getting per track -- if allofmp3 is paying ROMS 10%, then that's about a sixth of a cent per track. I sure the hell ain't no lawyer, but if the record companies start taking that sixth of a cent per track, the publishing companies (which collect the mechanicals on behalf of the composers and songwriters) might sue to collect their $0.08. When you make a sixth of a cent per track and must pay $0.08 per track in royalties, there is absolutely no way to make that back in volume. You will lose money on every track sold.

      The ironic thing here is that a common sentiment around here is that the record companies should take a cue (and/or clue) from allofmp3 and sell tracks for around $0.10 a song. Yet the current law, which dictates $0.08 for mechanicals, would not allow that to happen. And when a few weeks ago it made the news that the record companies were trying to lower mechanicals, the news was not well received by the Slashbots.

      My guess is that the "the artists are needy" crowd are OK with the statutory rates staying as they are -- but they'll still download from allofmp3 anyway, with the logic that if composers and songwriters are only making $0.08 a track, there's not much difference between $0.08 and zero. The "the artists are greedy" crowd are probably hoping for the day that the record companies can get that statutory rate lowered. That might open up the possibility of record companies recognizing ROMS or other third-party licensing organizations that pay at less than the US statutory rate.

      • by 31415926535897 (702314) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:21PM (#17329904) Journal
        The ironic thing here is that a common sentiment around here is that the record companies should take a cue (and/or clue) from allofmp3 and sell tracks for around $0.10 a song. Yet the current law, which dictates $0.08 for mechanicals, would not allow that to happen. And when a few weeks ago it made the news that the record companies were trying to lower mechanicals, the news was not well received by the Slashbots.

        This is where most of the money for a track should be going--to the creative talent. If you look at the breakdown for the $1 that gets spent on an iTunes track, about $0.70 goes to the RIAA member [cite: Fox [foxnews.com]]. They have to give $0.08 - $0.16 out for mechanicals (by law you say). That means, at worst they get to keep $0.54 per track for producing nothing (especially true in the case of digital distribution). They want to lower mechanicals so that they can increase their profit margin, not so that consumers get reduced prices. That is why Slashdot readers (nice Ad Hominem with the 'Slashbots' by the way) did not receive the news well.

        If they did manage to get mechanicals reduced to $0.001, they still wouldn't offer a service like AllOfMp3; they still wouldn't accept payment from AllOfMp3. I agree with your argument that they can't under the current conditions, but my argument is that they never would under any circumstances.

        I feel like a compromise can still be reached. I think the labels--at least the major labels--are looking at this the wrong way. The true creative talent can still receive their "high" mechanicals, the label can take their fair share of profits, and the final distributor can make a nice profit too. What if you offered songs at $0.55, with a breakdown of $0.16 for mechanicals, $0.14 for the label and $0.25 for distribution (I made this last number up because it seems to be the amount needs for Apple to break even)? Especially if you offered non-DRM, variable bit-rate files (like eMusic)--I have to imagine a service like this would crush Apple and be highly profitable for the recording industry. I also imagine that if the RIAA itself was the digital distributor that they could offer distribution at much less than $0.25 / track, and could make even more profit there.

        I firmly believe that the reason this doesn't happen is because all of the labels are run by old-time executives that fear change and want to maximize their profits while minimizing their efforts. They don't even see that with a little bit of effort they could double their profits.

  • by GodInHell (258915) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:12PM (#17328808) Homepage
    Q: What does New York / U.S. law have to do with a Russian company.

    A: U.S. courts have juridiction in cases where the party to be sued has "such miminal contacts" that allowing the suit would not violate traditional notions of fairness and justice. The US courts have allowed jurisdiction when it is clear that the offending company has intentionally directed buisiness into, and solicited buisiness from, the United States and her citizens.


    Here allofmp3 has all the hallmarks of past cases which have succeeded - site is in english, offers prices in U.S. dollars, advertises on U.S. websites and media.


    Since their acts take effect here, laws which govern the effect will rule.


    Q: How will they enforce the ruling?

    There are several ways - the RIAA companies could freeze allofmp3's funds with a court order, and call upon Russia (through the effect of U.S. - Russia treaties) to supply the amount demanded by the judgement. They can asses the value of AllofMp3's domain name and seek to have it sold off to cover the damages. U.S. credit cards and pay-pal could be ordered to cease making payments to allofmp.


    Q: How will they get these guys in custody? Russia won't hand them over.


    This is a civil case - jail time is not on the table.

    -GiH

  • Importation Laws? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:14PM (#17328858)
    If I understood the AllofMP3.com situation correctly, they are paying the Russian equivalent of the RIAA licensing and royalty fees for the songs they sell, under some obscure loophole of Russian law that allows them to classify their website alongside radio stations and use the much cheaper fees for broadcast licenses. If this is true, then they are violating no Russian law.

    But, I also thought that it is illegal for people to import into the United States products that are illegal here, even if said products are legal in the originating country (like bringing weed back from Amsterdam with you... they won't let it in the country, and you'll probably be arrested for possession). If that's the case, then wouldn't the US customers of AllofMP3.com be in violation of these importation laws by buying the songs in Russia (where it's legal) and then importing them to the United States (where it's illegal)? Why would the RIAA not use this vector for attack on AllofMP3, and bring down Capone on tax evasion?
    • Re:Importation Laws? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bloodstar (866306) <blood_star@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:35PM (#17329196) Journal

      Because possession of a .mp3 is not, in of itself, a crime. If you've legally purchased the mp3 according to the laws of that country, it's very hard for the RIAA to say, 'but they didn't pay us the money' particularly since the RIAA is the "Recording Industry Association of America" and not the "Recording Industry Association of Russia" or whichever country it may be. Now if there were a law passed saying that no mp3s may be 'imported' from another country if the RIAA hasn't been paid off, then there might be an issue with the 'importing' of the mp3 track to your computer.

      IANAL, and if someone else has any thoughts or corrections who is, I'd love to hear them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GodInHell (258915) *

        Because possession of a .mp3 is not, in of itself, a crime. If you've legally purchased the mp3 according to the laws of that country, it's very hard for the RIAA to say, 'but they didn't pay us the money' particularly since the RIAA is the "Recording Industry Association of America" and not the "Recording Industry Association of Russia" or whichever country it may be. Now if there were a law passed saying that no mp3s may be 'imported' from another country if the RIAA hasn't been paid off, then there might be an issue with the 'importing' of the mp3 track to your computer.

        As I understand this issue - internet sales occour both at the point of origin (russia) and the point of sale (in the U.S.). This means that your sale has to be legal there and here.

        I haven't studied internet or international law much yet though.

        -GiH

    • I imagine that it's slightly tricker than that tho... Pot is illegal to possess in the US, but the music in question is not.

      You are purchasing something that was apparently acquired legally in Russia, and is legal to own in the US. Similar to bringing back alcohol from Canada into the US. You have to pay an import tax if the value is above a certain amount (I think, been a long time). Nobody arrests you for having your case of Canadian Mist once you get back to your home in the US.

      The two things that s
  • FAQs (Score:3, Informative)

    by jubalj (324624) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:16PM (#17328880) Homepage
    The faqs at allofmp3 seem to detail and debate the various laws involved..

    Link to FAQ [allofmp3.com]
  • by baudbarf (451398) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:32PM (#17329130) Homepage
    Didn't this story [slashdot.org] already seal AllOfMP3.com's fate? Russia agreed to shut them down by mid 2007. So, is this just about squeezing a few bucks out of them before they die?
  • Some years ago, after a client of ours had disobeyed our instructions and flown her paraglider into a tree, and then further disboeyed us by climbing out of the harness and falling to the ground, breaking her back in the process, we received a letter from her London-based solicitors.

    They instructed US to send a cheque for 27,000 British Pounds (around 80,000 New Zealand dollars at the time) to pay for her hospital treatments (which were provided free by the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation unde
  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:55PM (#17330446)
    The RIAA is for the most part an association of Corporations.
    These corporations have an unlimited lifespan, and the legal purpose of a Corporation is solely to make money.
    But in our wisdom, our courts decided more than a century ago, that this Corporate Entity is a legal person: with all the legal benefits of person, but apparently little punishment for wrongdoings.

    This eternal entity obviously wants to "own" "copyrights" forever, for profit (its legal mandate). So the behavior of the RIAA and MPAA is not surprising.

    If you had robots with rights that could outlive humans, you may have some of the same ownership problems as those created with this artificial corporation person creation.

    When a corporation is made of of all robot employees ... nevermind, you have probably seen that movie.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:55PM (#17330456)
    allofmp3 pays royalties. The RIAA will receive royalties from the organization that allofmp3 pays if they ask. They refuse to ask because they do not like the compulsory licensing laws in Russia. To ask for the money will imply consent, so they sue the law abiding citizens (allofmp3) because they do not like the Russian laws. There is nothing wrong with compulsory licensing. There is compulsory licensing in the US as well, but the terms are favorable to the RIAA so they accept it and take their money when it is paid. So the problem isn't that they object to how things are handled. They object to the level of payment they receive. And they are suing a lawfully operating company because of a complaint about a government's actions.

    Regardless of what one things about anything else they do, suing a company that is not in violation of any law because of annoyance over a government's policies is just wrong.

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