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Allofmp3 Shut Down, Again 291

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the e-roller-coaster dept.
studguy1 writes to tell us TorrentFreak is reporting that the Russian government has shut down Allofmp3, the popular online music site. "AllOfMP3 has been a thorn in the side of the RIAA and the US government for years. Last year, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said that if Russia wants to join the WTO, they should shut down the pirate music website that is robbing US recording companies of sales."
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Allofmp3 Shut Down, Again

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  • Heh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kingrames (858416)
    "...they should shut down the pirate music website that is robbing US recording companies of sales."

    So then, they shut down the wrong website.
    Exposure leads to increased sales, period.
  • No Big Deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sam_paris (919837) on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:30PM (#19722949)
    In actuality, most people stopped using Allofmp3 when it became virtually impossible to pay, some months ago. (when Visa pulled the plug)

    The rather more substantial thorn in the record industrys side is now iTunes and Apple.
  • Hmmmmm! (Score:5, Funny)

    by supe (163410) * on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:32PM (#19722971) Journal
    Bush - Putin visit?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kryten_nl (863119)
      P: Yeah, W ... about that Missile Defense Shield. I'm not to happy with that. But I can give you Allofmp3.com.
      W: Daddy what do you think?
      Daddy: Read my lips, No New Taxes! Oh, on the MDS ... do we really care that much about protecting the EU?
      W: Well, if you're going to be all kriptik about it, I'll call Jebb. He's always willing to help.

  • Soo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kamots (321174) on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:33PM (#19722977)
    Soo...

    When US record companies see no positive impact in sales, will Russia be allowed to let allofmp3 reopen?

    Because, for some reason I find myself really doubting that people that were paying pennies for songs are going to suddenly turn around and start paying an order of magnitude more.

    But hey, what do I know? I'm just a lowly consumer...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by superwiz (655733)
      don't you mean 2 orders of magnitude?
    • I was wondering the same thing. Will the members of the RIAA now boast record sales now that the site that cost them hundreds of billions (!) in sales has been closed down?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skreems (598317)

      When US record companies see no positive impact in sales, will Russia be allowed to let allofmp3 reopen?

      Because, for some reason I find myself really doubting that people that were paying pennies for songs are going to suddenly turn around and start paying an order of magnitude more.

      Actually, I bought at least 10 albums in the last year that I wouldn't have if I hadn't downloaded the whole thing on allofmp3 first. As well as several shows that I've gone to, enjoyed, bought a t-shirt at, etc...

  • Bribery? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:34PM (#19722997)

    AllOfMP3 has been a thorn in the side of the RIAA and the US government for years. Last year, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said that if Russia wants to join the WTO, they should shut down the pirate music website [AllOfMP3] that is robbing U.S. recording companies of sales.
    Isn't that bribery?

    bribe (plural bribes)

          1. Something (usually money) given in exchange for influence or as an inducement to dishonesty.
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bribe [wiktionary.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Isn't that bribery?

      More like extortion.
    • Re:Bribery? (Score:5, Funny)

      by jez9999 (618189) on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:40PM (#19723055) Homepage Journal
      It's legal in the US political system, why would international relations be any different?
    • Re:Bribery? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Caetel (1057316) * on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:50PM (#19723137)
      Perhaps, but it is probably better described as coercion or extortion.

      coerce [wiktionary.org]: to use force, threat, fraud, or intimidation in attempt to compel one to act against his will.

      extort [wiktionary.org]: To wrest from an unwilling person by physical force, menace, duress, torture, or any undue or illegal exercise of power or ingenuity; to wrench away (from); to tear away; to wring (from); to exact; as, to extort contributions from the vanquished; to extort confessions of guilt; to extort a promise; to extort payment of a debt.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Something (usually money) given in exchange for influence or as an inducement to dishonesty.

      There is no bribery and nothing dishonest in saying that if you want to join the WTO, you must play by the rules of the WTO.

      AllOfMP3 will come down - and stay down - as soon as Putin decides it is bad for business.

  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:37PM (#19723017)
    There's already a good 100 clones of allofmp3 with similar music catalogs and pricing schemes all operating out of Russia. Shutting down one website is really a non-issue at this point, anyone can go to google and find dozens of alternatives all operating out of Russia.
  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Monday July 02, 2007 @06:43PM (#19723075)
    So once allofmp3 is shut down, do they really expect sales to go up?

    If there was a similar legitimate, and DRM-free service, and prices were low enough, perhaps sales would go up.

    It seems that RIAA still does not get it, things like Napster, mp3.com, and allofmp3 will keep coming until the RIAA, or the artist themselves decide to stop fighting the Internet model, and instead profit from it.

    • by gsslay (807818)
      similar legitimate. And how is this going to achieved? AllOfMP3 was a business model based on zero costs, because they never paid anything to copy their output and had no investment costs. How is a legitimate service going to replicate this?

      and prices were low enough. A subjective statement. What's 'low enough'? All prices in a free-market are the result of a compromise between producer and consumer, neither side gets free-reign to set the price.

      perhaps sales would go up. Perhaps they would, but then
      • All prices in a free-market are the result of a compromise between producer and consumer, neither side gets free-reign to set the price.

        I call bull. In the case of a monopoly or cartel, the price is solely set by the producer(s) at the profit maximizing point. Granted, the demand will determine this point, but there is no compromise to speak of.

        In the case of a monopsony, there is a single consumer that likewise sets the price, take it or leave it.

        Now, when it comes to used cars, that's true.

        • by gsslay (807818)
          True points, but are they relevant? You have to prove that a monopoly or cartel is in operation. The fact that CD prices (in real terms) have consistently fallen kind of suggests there isn't, and a free-market (or as close as you get in any actual economy) is in operation.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by spearway (169040)
            I would disagree with you. Copyright by nature is a temporary monopoly granted by the state to an artist so that he can profit form his labor. This lands the copyrightholder with mauch higher standard of behavior than other regular business. I think most of the major have forgotten why they can collect a rent money and have tilted the playing unduly to their advantage. We should remind our represenative that this is not acceptable behavior and there is a good occasion for this in the coming election.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 02, 2007 @07:32PM (#19723453) Journal
        The thing about AllOfMP3 was that it showed the marginal cost of running an online store. Even if we assume that AllOfMP3 was not paying anything to the recording industry, and not making any profit, they must still have been covering their bandwidth costs. Now, add on to that roughly what the RIAA pays artists, and you get something like 10-20/track as the minimum cost of running a fair music store. Then they can look at iTunes selling tracks for $1.29 (without DRM), and suddenly realise that $1 of every track they buy is going to middle men who aren't providing any service of value to them.

        There isn't much a customer can do about this, but there is a lot an artist can do when they do the same sums. This is why the RIAA members want AllOfMP3 shut down. It shows exactly how much profit they are raking in from online sales to exactly the people they don't want to know; the ones they claim to represent.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by adona1 (1078711)
          What the artists do need is recording studios and expertise. When an industry solely catering to that - without the binding contracts, points-per-production, excess marketing and and shady business practices - springs up, then artists can be freer to record then release their work online.

          Unfortunately, the biggest and best studios and probably most of the good sound engineers work within the recording industry, so many artists find that the services that they need in order to produce albums are owned by th
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NormalVisual (565491)
            The thing is, you don't need the biggest and best studio to record a decent-sounding album. Yeah, it's nice to have a humongous SSL board with a full ProTools suite and lots of other high-end gear to add lots of sparkle, but it's far more important to have a decent engineer that understands how to work with what he's got. Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of good engineers out there that actually enjoy what they do, and don't charge ridiculous prices for their services. I personally can't see th
        • by mcrbids (148650)
          Then they can look at iTunes selling tracks for $1.29 (without DRM), and suddenly realise that $1 of every track they buy is going to middle men who aren't providing any service of value to them.

          Except that those "middle men" really DO provide service of immense value... they filter out the crap. And let me assure you, there's lots and LOTS of that crap out there. And much of what they do is help train marginal artists into much better (or even great) artists.

          Even though it's not a shining example of talent
          • by EggyToast (858951)
            I will agree that middle-men usually serve a very useful purpose. Even ignoring crap, I'd rather have a musician I enjoy or a writer I prefer to spend their time doing what they're good at, rather than accounting or taxes or marketing. I'd rather have an agent push for publishing houses to print the book while the author is finishing it up, rather than delaying it that much more, not to mention their notion that it's "for art's sake" and their general inability to realize a good contract.
          • Except that those "middle men" really DO provide service of immense value... they filter out the crap. And let me assure you, there's lots and LOTS of that crap out there. And much of what they do is help train marginal artists into much better (or even great) artists.

            Except that its still a top-down approach, where they groom "talent" to fit their own pre-conceived notions of what the 'market' wants, and then force it onto the airwaves and into stores.

            Once upon a time, there was more of a bottom-up ap

      • by QuoteMstr (55051)
        allofmp3 WAS legitimate in Russia. It paid royalties to ROMS, the Russian organization responsible for collecting copyright fees. The RIAA simply didn't like ROMS' rates and structures (even though Russia, as a sovereign nation, has every right to set its own royalties), and declared allofmp3 illegal.
        • by gsslay (807818)
          The RIAA simply didn't like ROMS' rates and structures

          AllOfMP3 was operating on a broadcasting licence. They were exploiting a loophole in Russian law and they knew it.

          even though Russia, as a sovereign nation, has every right to set its own royalties

          Indeed, but kind of irrelevant when we're talking about sales outside Russia. Russia has the right to do what it wishes, just as an industry has the right to say we don't care to do business with you on these terms. The point of the the news story here is t
          • by QuoteMstr (55051)
            Fair enough. But "loophole" or not, it was a perfectly legitimate website. It's disingenuous at best, and fraudulent at worst, to call allofmp3 an "illegal website." The fact is that it was a legal business that the US happened to not like.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by adona1 (1078711)

            They were exploiting a loophole in Russian law and they knew it.


            Upstart Russian website exploiting a loophole in law = filthy communist thieves.

            Established tax-paying middleman business exploiting a loophole in law = good business practices [wikipedia.org]?
        • by shark72 (702619) on Monday July 02, 2007 @09:48PM (#19725065)

          "allofmp3 WAS legitimate in Russia. It paid royalties to ROMS, the Russian organization responsible for collecting copyright fees. The RIAA simply didn't like ROMS' rates and structures (even though Russia, as a sovereign nation, has every right to set its own royalties), and declared allofmp3 illegal."

          Well, for what it's worth, ROMS isn't recognized by any of the world's performance licensing groups. Whether that's a badge of honor or a shame is, as the math texts state, an exercise left to the reader.

          Contrary to popular belief, the cost of sale of a music download usually isn't zero. There are mechanical royalties to the composer and lyricist to deal with (the mechanical rate is set by law), and there are usually contractual royalties as well, paid to the performer. Record companies have tricks for minimizing these royalties, but it's a safe assumption that for a typical track sold on iTunes, mechanical and contractual royalties are being accrued.

          Now, let's say you're a record company. For the sake of simplicity let's say you're one of the cool indie labels, and you pay your artists fairly. One track you sell has a mechanical of $0.08 each to the composer and lyricist, and you're throwing the rest of the band an additional $0.04, for a total of $0.20 that you owe to the artists for each track sold.

          So this ROMS outfit tells you that you can have a portion of the licensing fee that they've collected, if you really want it. The web site sold your track for $0.20, for which they paid ROMS $0.02. ROMS takes their cut, so that penny is ready for you to take whenever you want it.

          Trouble is, if you take that penny, you still owe the band $0.20. If you take it and don't pay them their $0.20 (for a net loss of $0.19 to you), the best case is that they'll be mightily (and rightfully) pissed. The worst case is that they'll find themselves a lawyer.

          So, you eat the difference. ROMS says that they've collected royalties for 10,000 downloads and they owe you $100. You take the $100 and pay your band the $2,000 they're owed. You're out $1,900.

          And then ROMS tells you that they have another $100 for you. And another. And another.

          My story is hypothetical; mainly for the very big reason that artist who've tried to get sales info from allofmp3.com have failed in their quest. Yes, I am aware that AllofMP3 stated that they supported artists' rights, but they could have at least shared this basic sales data, just as iTunes and legitimate stores do. And, if you try surfing the ROMS site for information on how to collect royalties, it quickly becomes frustrating, even if you speak Russian. Compare this with the two US performance right societies, ASCAP and BMI -- they go out of their way to make it easy for artists to find out how much they are owed. I know that lots of people reading this see ROMS and allofmp3 as the good guys in this situation, but it's just not showing from their actions.

  • Thorn in the Side? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Monday July 02, 2007 @07:01PM (#19723227) Homepage Journal
    "Thorn in the side" means "constant source of irritation". An MP3 bootlegger is certainly a "thorn in the side" of the RIAA. But of the U.S. government? Somehow, in this era of major terrorism, genocide, nuclear proliferation, insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other thorny issues, I don't think anybody in the government loses sleep over allofmp3.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Somehow, in this era of major terrorism, genocide, nuclear proliferation, insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other thorny issues, I don't think anybody in the government loses sleep over allofmp3.

      In ten years, J.K. Rowling went from being a welfare mother to being richer than the Queen of England. The U.S. and the U.K. have learned how to spin their culture into pure gold for export.

      You might as well ask if there is anyone in the Aussie government who cares about the wool market, anyone in the Saud

      • by fm6 (162816)
        You're saying that Gordon Brown worries as much about selling the next Harry Potter book as he does about preventing the next bombing? Get real!
        • You're saying that Gordon Brown worries as much about selling the next Harry Potter book as he does about preventing the next bombing?

          Sure, it seems stupid right now. But, over the long haul, yes he will. Were he still Chancellor of the Exchequer, he'd care even more.

          Stepping back up the thread to whether this was a thorn in the US Government's side, anything that causes major lobbying groups to suck up space in a Congressional Rep's/Senator's/President's schedule for bitching and moaning counts as a thorn.
  • by Archon-X (264195) on Monday July 02, 2007 @07:13PM (#19723291)
    www.mp3sugar.com [mp3sugar.com]
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      What, another one?? So they kill Allofmp3 and then two more -- that clone and mp3sparks pop up. :-s
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Though losing your remaining balance every time they whack another mole is some deterrent.
  • And Allofmp3 is the lynch pin keeping Russia out.
    Remember when Russia was the enemy? And we had classic cliche's based on them? Meeeemmoorriiiiiieeesssss!!!!
  • by justinjas (1123183) on Monday July 02, 2007 @07:59PM (#19723751)
    I noticed the comments about Mp3Sparks.com. I'd never heard of them but saw that they we're run by the same guys. I was bummed to hear allofmp3 was shutdown since I still had $30 balance on it. What do you know though, I tried to login with my allofmp3 username/login on Mp3Sparks and my account and balance was carried over. And I just assumed they'd steal my money.
    • by CRC'99 (96526)

      I noticed the comments about Mp3Sparks.com. I'd never heard of them but saw that they we're run by the same guys. I was bummed to hear allofmp3 was shutdown since I still had $30 balance on it. What do you know though, I tried to login with my allofmp3 username/login on Mp3Sparks and my account and balance was carried over. And I just assumed they'd steal my money.


      Awesome. I just tried this too and my balance has been carried over :)
    • by Mspangler (770054) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:01PM (#19725843)
      "And I just assumed they'd steal my money."

      Ironic isn't it. The "pirates" are more honest than the corporations supposedly being harmed.
  • slyck.com (Score:4, Informative)

    by SilverwoodUG (853342) on Monday July 02, 2007 @08:41PM (#19724281) Homepage
    slyck [slyck.com] has a better article

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