AllofMP3.com escapes criminal lawsuit, for now

Alex Moskalyuk Online – BLOG

On February 2004 the Computer Crimes division of Moscow City Police recommended that prosecutors initiate a criminal lawsuit against AllofMP3.com, a Russian music site selling MP3 downloads by the megabytes. The investigation was initially launched at the request of IFPI Moscow. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry previously sued a similar Spanish project, with PureTunes.com settling with the industry for $10 million.

The case of AllofMP3.com was further complicated by compulsory licensing, adopted by Russian legislature. Compulsory licensing stipulates that licenses should be issued in non-discriminatory manner to anyone who wants to get one on reasonable terms. Russian Multimedia and Network Society was in charge of establishing the reasonable terms, and according to Russian legislation, anyone could distribute music, provided they track downloads and pay back some nominal fee. This is very different from the legislature in the United States, where a music distributor would have to gain a license before selling any music online, and furthermore, could be denied such license for whatever reasons.

On March 4th prosecutor’s office of Moscow’s Southwestern region refused to charge AllofMP3.com in a criminal lawsuit. What’s interesting is that AllofMP3.com did not win the case due to the compulsory licensing legislated in Russia. The prosecutor’s office affirmed that the Russian music site was distributing copyrighted music from its site, and in many cases did not have a proper license to distribute them. Russian criminal law severely punishes attempts to distribute copyrighted music without proper licensing procured first. However, Russian law is quite specific about distribution of material goods, as the law usually applies to CD and DVD pirating.

Read the entire BLOG entry here.

Please comment on this article if you’ve ever used AllofMP3 or haven’t for specific reasons… I’m curious to hear who’s used AllofMP3 especially from the USA.