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AllofMP3.com May Hinder Russia Joining WTO

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the riaa-lawyers-in-high-places dept.

419

gitana writes "The New York Times is reporting that American trade negotiators may demand the shutdown of AllofMP3.com as a condition of Russia joining the World Trade Organization." From the article: "Music industry officials say AllofMP3, which first came to their attention in 2004, is a large-scale commercial piracy site, and they dismiss its claims of legality. "It is totally unprecedented to have a pirate site operating so openly for so long," said Neil Turkewitz, executive vice president of the Recording Industry Association of America, who is based in Washington ... AllofMP3.com says on the site that it can legally sell to any user based in Russia and warns foreign users to verify the legality within their countries for themselves. The site features a wide selection of Russian music, but is written in English with prices listed in United States dollars."

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I knew it was illegal! (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462450)

"The site features a wide selection of Russian music, but is written in English with prices listed in United States dollars"

Goddamnit, how can we, as Americans, allow such a site to exist?!? Russian sites must be written in a native (or, at the most, european) language, and they'd better show prices in rubles. Well, I guess, euros would be okay as well, as long as they don't directly link to a currency conversions site.

I'd like to call, once and for all, for all sites not located within the US (or, um, England) to stop putting up sites in English.

Re:I knew it was illegal! (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462483)

Actually, there's Russian AOMP3 site: http://account.allofmp3.com/shares/setencode.html? changeencode_mss=RUS [allofmp3.com]

Re:I knew it was illegal! (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462660)

And its newly launched comrade site:

http://www.themp3direct.com/ [themp3direct.com]

Same look and feel, same story.
 

Re:I knew it was illegal! (0)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462492)

"The site features a wide selection of Russian music, but is written in English with prices listed in United States dollars"

Goddamnit, how can we, as Americans, allow such a site to exist?!? Russian sites must be written in a native (or, at the most, european) language, and they'd better show prices in rubles. Well, I guess, euros would be okay as well, as long as they don't directly link to a currency conversions site.

I'd like to call, once and for all, for all sites not located within the US (or, um, England) to stop putting up sites in English.

Well, the point of the quote you're mocking is that we can infer something about the purpose of a site from what language it presents itself in -- in this case, the quite relevant fact that their target market speaks English. We can make of that what we will, but it's useful information that provides helpful context.

Re:I knew it was illegal! (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462600)

. . .the quite relevant fact that their target market speaks English.

Well, it's strictly anecdotal evidence, of course, but my experience is that a random Russian pulled off the street speaks better English than a random American pulled off the street.

KFG

Re:I knew it was illegal! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462653)

I bet that sounded clever in your head. Unfortunately, it makes you sound like an idiot.

How much time have you spent in Russia? I would assume, given your response, your only experience with Russia is from Rocky 4 and From Russia with Love.

The average Russian speaks English about as well as the average American speaks Russian.

Re:I knew it was illegal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462504)

Actually, it's even more stupid than that, seeing as the site is available in Russian. I guess nobody spotted the link in the top-right corner to switch languages.

Hint to web developers: you can automatically display the user's preferred language by looking at the Accept-Language HTTP header. It will be correct in the vast majority of cases, but remember to include the link to switch languages for the minority of visitors who have their browser misconfigured.

Re:I knew it was illegal! (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462812)

I'd like to call, once and for all, for all sites not located within the US (or, um, England) to stop putting up sites in English.

Hmmm. Too bad for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Northern Ireland (not technically part of England), the Republic of Ireland (definitely not part of England) and -- oh, let me see -- a good chunk of the Caribbean, no doubt a number of African countries ... I'm sure there are a whole bunch more I've left out ...

Look, of course I get your point: it's totally lame for the RIAA to object to the site just because it's in English and sells in US dollars. And as much as I'd hate to see the RIAA widen their grip on global internet music sales, and as futile as it would be anyway (think "whack-a-mole"), nevertheless there could be a valid point to be made about closing a trade loophole before a country can be admitted to a trading group.

Cannot legislate morals... (1, Insightful)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462453)

You cannot legislate away theft. If you want to curb it, you have to remove the economic incentive to steal. For music/video, you do that by making it easier/cheaper to buy the content from a legitimate distributor than to copy it. The "man" thinks they can also do this by limiting the quality of the output from illegitimate sources (using onerous copy protection systems that probably won't work anyway). They need to believe this if they have any hope of maintaining their rather excessive markups on their product. I am of the opinion that they'll kick and scream some more and eventually mostly give up and use pricing to fight piracy. But we'll see....

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (2, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462470)

Copyright infringement isn't theft. Anyone claiming it is automatically loses all credibility.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (0, Troll)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462486)

With whom?

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462489)

Me!

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462607)

Anyone who actually wants to debate the issue rather than grandstanding.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462497)

I'm sure we could make a law around that "in any topic on downloading - either legal or not - will sooner or later have someone call it theft; which will remove all credibility from that post." ... we could call it Joe's law... so long as someone hasn't already nabbed it...

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462531)

Makes sense to me. It's obviously been hashed over time and time again, and making a law out of it will help contain the industry shills that flood Slashdot whenever downloading comes up.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462676)

great stuff. if you write the Wiki you can link to it and then get modded up +5 (by virute of having a link in the post)... we really do need a law; and I really need it to be in my name (I don't know why...)

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (3, Insightful)

EvilFrog (559066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462610)

Stop being pedantic. You know what they meant. Semantic nonsense over what is and isn't theft doesn't change the argument, just the verbage. Take every instance of "theft" and replace it with "copyright infringement" and the arguments will all be the same.

Besides, "theft" is a fairly wide definition that applies to more than just larceny. In US the theft of services is indeed considered theft and charged as larceny. If something as non-tangible as services can be stolen, surely the definition can extend to intellectual property such as music.

I've copied plenty of music, and my doing so has led me to the legitimate purchase of lots of music I would have never otherwise. Overall I'd say that the free distribution of music in many ways helps the artist more than it hinders. That does not however, change the laws. Copyright infringement is still illegal, whether it's theft or not. The whole "copyright infringement isn't theft" thing seems to be a crutch of an argument people fall on to ignore the issue.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (4, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462644)

It's not a crutch to ignore the issue, it is a clarification of what we are discussing. There are important differences between copyright infringement and theft. There are entirely separate laws dealing with each of them. In sensible countries, one (copyright infringement) is a civil offence, and the other (theft) is a criminal offence. You cannot seriously claim that they are the same thing without dismissing a whole slew of important differences.

You stated that you have copied music before. Does that mean that you consider yourself a thief? Is the only thing that is stopping you from robbing stores the increased risk of being caught?

The problem is... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462696)

The problem is that as far as I understand it, AllOfMP3.com is NOT commiting copyright infringment. copyright is a law. It is not an inherent human right. Thus, if Russia does not have a law outlawing what AllOfMP3.com is doing, it is not only legal, but the real question is... If AllOfMP3.com is legal, why have they not started a mass lawsuit campaign in the US to sue everybody that calls them theifs. It is clearly liable, and should be prosecuted.

Re:The problem is... (0, Flamebait)

feijai (898706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462808)

You can certainly break a law in a jurisdiction and not reside there. AllOfMP3.com is committing copyright infringement in the US because they are performing transactions that involve parties in the US. Just because they're doing something illegal in the US doesn't mean they can be prosecuted for that, as they're located in Russia where we don't have much jurisdiction. That being said, the crucial violator isn't AllOfMP3. It's you. You purchased from them, illegally, while in the US, violating it's laws. Have fun in jail.

Analogy not valid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462724)


Beyond the theft or copyright infringement argument, your analogy to theft of services is not valid in this case, as in the instance of theft of services you are depriving the service provider of something very valuable; their time. To compare a finite amount of service (analog) and infinite (digital) amount is not valid; this difference is where the concept of deprivation is introduced, and thus where the concept of theft is born. Whether this is not a worthwhile argument, and whether everyone should accept the common usage of theft in this case is not relevant to the fact that theft and copyright infringement are two different things. I also think it is a bit disingenuous to try to equate the debate over the usage of these two terms with the debate over copyright infringement. Essentially you state that anyone who argues over the term usages believes copyright infringement is legal, which is simply not true. I for one recognize the illegality of copyright infringement under, for example, current U.S. law, however I still find the discussion regarding the use of relevant terminology to be interesting.

No it would not be the same. (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462765)

Why not just replace the word republican with "nazi", democrat with "commie", "homosexual" with "fag", white with "racist", or black with "nigger" too. oh yeah, that is unacceptbile.. how hyppocritical.

what they meant was to slander the idea of fair use and imply that it is immoral to do what the AHRA allows us to do in copying music with home recording devices and handing the tape off to friends. Just because it involves silicon and wires instead of dual cassette decks and magnetized ribbons doen't make it any different.

They continue to use this term to slander and demonize vast swaths of innocent people and innocent actions in their greedy pursuit of control, and do not have a right to use such slanderous language.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462787)

When you say "theft of services", you mean fraud in the tangible sense (convincing someone to do something for you under false pretenses -- generally, a false promise to pay) and copyright violation in the intangible sense ("stealing" cable). The first sense is legitimate -- a person's services are a limited tangible thing -- coinciding with the historical and accepted definition of theft. The second sense matches precisely the sense of copyright violation. It is a recent neologism invented by large corporate interests to convince regular people that copying somehow is morally on-par with taking a tangible object. It is, of course, not the same. When a duplicate of a record is made, the original record is not taken. No one has been deprived of the object being copied. Theft, in its true sense, has not occurred.

As for "the laws", they differ country to country. Not all countries recognize the United States' desire to punish its citizens for copying records.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

malraid (592373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462802)

The issue is NOT "theft" or not. It's economics. In economics, things have value because they are scarse. Bits are not scarse. So the RIAA puts special limitations to make it scarse. This artificially raises the prices, and as anyone who has taken a basic economics course, is not efficient. ANY artificial restriction to a market makes it less efficient than free trade. So yes, copyright is an anti free trade aberration. Talent on the other hand IS scarse, but that's hardly the issue here.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462657)

Copyright infringement isn't theft. Anyone claiming it is automatically loses all credibility.

--- on Slashdot.

The association in the public mind of copyright infringement with theft goes back to a time when the Black Flag was still flying over the Carribbean. It is too solidy anchored now to be dislodged. That is why warez sites are given names like The Pirate Bay and the NET (No Electronic Theft) Act sails through Congress.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462728)

Copyright infringement isn't theft. Anyone claiming it is automatically loses all credibility.

Copyright laws are the foundation of intellectual property and makes copyright infringement just as serious as depriving a person of physical property. Violating someone's copyright is no different than stealing their physical CDs from a store. You can attempt to explain away your thievery all you want with idiotic statements like you've made, but the facts are the facts. You are stealing.

Re:Cannot legislate morals... (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462518)

Correct. Remove the incentive.
For example, I don't download movies. If I want to watch it once, then Netflix delivers that for about $1.80. High quality DVD. If I want to buy it, then Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. sell movies (DVDs) for under $10.
For example, the new Dixie Chicks CD (with 14 songs, 1+ hour of music) is available from Amazon.com for under $10. We bought it.
For example, we do buy from AllofMP3.com and not iTunes Music Store because those nice RUssina boys sell music encoded at 320 kbps and Apple only sells it at 128. We buy from the Russians because the quality is much better. ,dave

Can I legislate away ignorance? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462551)

H.R. 859634: Calling copyright infringement "theft" will be considered libel from now on.

if it seems too good to be true (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462457)

If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Long ago as Napster faded into the sunset (in its old form, at least) a friend turned me onto allofmp3. Promised me it was only $.10 a track and the selection was amazing. I went there, I signed up, I think I even may have purchased a few tracks.

But the more I looked at it, the more uneasy I felt about how legitimate it could be. This latest story confirms my hunch... they aren't. This other related article from Wired [wired.com] goes into further detail. Apparently allofmp3 is already offering downloads for the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers' as are tracks from the latest Shakira album (you can tell I'm from the vinyl age, still calling them "albums"). The prices are 1/10 the iTunes rates, and while the article doesn't say, it would seem allofmp3 has no contract or agreement to sell these tracks.

(From the Wired article: "..., World music downloading leader iTunes charges a fixed 99 cents per song, but the Russian site offers tracks for a 10th of that price. Songs from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' new double album, Stadium Arcadium, cost between 10 and 16 cents. The whole of Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, the latest album by Colombian pop star Shakira, can be had for just $1.40...., ")

I like what allofmp3 has tried to do, offer a vast array of music at much more reasonable prices than the rest of the world, but it does them, and the rest of us who would demand a more fair distribution model irreparable damage. The more "we" are labeled as criminals by our own actions, the more fodder for their argument. And, the more likely DRM becomes more onerous and intrusive and constraining.

Also interesting is the focus of the article, the barrier for Russia to enter into the World Trade Organization. I couldn't care less about that aspect, it seems a big stick and out of proportion that Russia should bear... but that's political schtick. I think the even bigger issue is this has put allofmp3 on everybody's radar, which of course means the RIAA, Congress, progress (i.e., the opposite of congress), etc. And if allofmp3 is selling rogue mp3s, it's bad for the anti-DRM community.

It's an eternal adage, and how true it always seems to be: "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is."

Re:if it seems too good to be true (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462512)

I like what allofmp3 has tried to do, offer a vast array of music

Don't discount this, I've found there what I couldn't find at iTunes or eBay (ex: Ibiza, vol.2 from '95). This alone makes them worthwhile and I would be very disappointed if the shutdown occurred.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462516)

I think it is true (and good). The only doubts I would have is about them stealing credit card information (last time I looked the paypal option had gone - might be back now. It is perfectly legal for them to do; so they should if they can make money from it. This will strengthen the anti-drm calls because it shows that we are prepared to pay for music if it doesn't have DRM and if it is fairly priced. I would say people who are paying 1 dollar for a song with DRM are the ones who are supporting it.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462533)

The prices are 1/10 the iTunes rates, and while the article doesn't say, it would seem allofmp3 has no contract or agreement to sell these tracks.

No, they have a compulsory license based on russian law. They pay a pittance to some collection agency and in return operate legally, not in violation of russian copyright law. Sure, the RIAA are getting their panties in a bunch and it's a pretty huge loophole, but currently it's not illegal. That's why they're changing the law this autumn.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462574)

..., Sure, the RIAA are getting their panties in a bunch...,

The RIAA wears panties? You sure you're not confusing them with the MPAA?

Re:if it seems too good to be true (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462557)

... tracks from the latest Shakira album (you can tell I'm from the vinyl age, still calling them "albums").

They are still called albums in the UK, and should be so elsewhere. An album is a collection of songs released together, regardless of media. After all, what are you going to call a download-only album, you can't call that a CD can you?

Re:if it seems too good to be true (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462727)

An album is a collection of songs released together. . .

on multiple instances of media in a single package. The term actually comes from the age of lacquer and 78 rpm when even a single musical work could span multiple disks. The record sleeves were bound together in a single "album." A collection of disks/songs in a single book jacket, like a collection of stamps or photographs in a stamp or photograph album.

"Album" refered to the binding, not the media.

Thus The White Album actually is, but Revolver actually isn't.

. . .what are you going to call a download-only album. . . you can't call that a CD can you?

Go to your local stamp dealer. Buy a couple dozen stamps. Are they an "album"?

No. They are a "collection."

. . .you can't call that a CD can you?

No, but you can call it an HD.

KFG

Where does the $.99 of itunes song go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462573)

Allofmp3 is popular, why? Because people see their prices as legitimate. .99 of itunes looks cheap, but where is that money going? Why do you have to pay .99? Is the artist getting .50 of the .99? How can Allofmp3 function with just .10 a track?

The music industry is just greedy.

GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED GREED

The industry does nothing with its money, they didn't even develope or promote mp3. They bring nothing to the table. It's like a company holding patents waiting for someone to infringe so they can sue and get money.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (4, Insightful)

mkro (644055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462577)

I like what allofmp3 has tried to do, offer a vast array of music at much more reasonable prices than the rest of the world, but it does them, and the rest of us who would demand a more fair distribution model irreparable damage. The more "we" are labeled as criminals by our own actions, the more fodder for their argument. And, the more likely DRM becomes more onerous and intrusive and constraining.
Okay, I'm having a bit of a problem with this one. People should stop buying this, show that we all are mature and responsible adults and get it from "their" sites, and then the restraints will slowly go away? How the hell is that going to happen? Isn't that like asking Rosa Parks to get to the back of the bus and behave so whitey can understand black people are civilized? In Norway homosexuality was forbidden by law until 1972. Activism and outright breaking the law changed it. If people had simply complied, nothing would have changed. Now, I don't want to offend anyone by saying this is more important than gay and black rights, but I think the analogy itself is valid.

mod parent up (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462597)

the parent got to this point before i could.

You do not make unfair curtailment of people's rights go away by sucking up to your oppressors, that course of action is the surest way to signal your willningness to tolerate more oppression.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (4, Interesting)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462687)

Reading you loud and clear!

It is certainly not as important as civil rights. It is certainly not worth bankrupting families with ridiculous lawsuits. And its certainly not worth making the whole world bend over backwards to the whims of a few fatcats with an aging business model in a relatively small industry; compare the content industry to the technology industries that build devices for viewing/listening content, and they're a drop in the bucket. Its like a Flea barking orders at the dog.

With all the real problems in the world, it pisses me TF off watching a bunch of greedy millionaires complaining that they aren't able to screw over their customers like in the old days, suing kids and old ladies, and somehow trying to argue that piracy is robbing them of "potential revenue" that is orders of magnitude more than the total revenue of the entire industry.

Allofmp3.com is the best online music store. If they want to shut it down, all they need to do is bring up a "licensed" site with at least as big a selection, no DRM, and a fair price.

Fuck the WTO. Fuck them right in the ear. The W stands for "World", not "America" (and it definitely does not stand for that misguided retard in Washington...).

desirable scenario (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462594)

the low-scum behind allofjunk.com gets megalomaniac idea to run for Russian presidency, ends up in Siberia like the "transparent" thug Khodorkovsky (by the will of KGB super-thug).

Open your eyes, /. Russia is still a country where business is highly criminalized.

Re:desirable scenario (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462698)

In that way, Russia is far behind the US. Here in the states, business has purchased legilation so that their activites are no longer criminal. Don't worry, you'll catch up soon enough.

Re:desirable scenario (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462730)

It does not seem you lived in Russia in the 90s

Re:desirable scenario (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462780)

The closest I've come to living in Russia was petitioning (with one other friend and unsucessfully) to get a Russian language class taught in my high school back in the 80s. I have no doubt that your are as corrupt as we are, just in your own way.

Re:desirable scenario (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462794)

There are common measures you can measure Russian business and US. None of them will get Russia an upper hand, except faster economic growth

(cough) Enron (cough) Tyco (cough) Arthur An... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462720)

Open your eyes, /. Russia is still a country where business is highly criminalized.

Hey, they're just trying to follow the capitalist model laid out by the fine upstanding corporate role citizens in the good ole land o' virtue - the U.S. Oh, you meant that to be ironic, right?

Re:if it seems too good to be true (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462608)

AllofMP3 asserts its legality by citing a license issued by a collecting society, the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society.

In most countries, the collecting societies that receive royalty payments for the sale or use of artistic works need reciprocal agreements with overseas copyright holders...

According to Russia's 1993 copyright law, however, collecting societies are permitted to act on behalf of rights holders who have not authorized them to do so. Collecting societies have thus been set up to gather royalties for foreign copyright holders without their authorization...

The result is that numerous organizations in Russia receive royalties for the use of foreign artistic works, but never pass on that money to the artists or music companies
So, either the NY Times incorrectly summarized the way things work in Russia, or All of MP3 is doing nothing wrong & the RIAA should be going after the collecting societies.

On a seperate rant: I guess the third possibility is that Russia's copyright laws are morally wrong and need to be changed. Hmmm... how could the RIAA & their Euro counterparts accomplish this?

I know!!1 By inviting Russia to join the WTO!.

For those of you who don't know, the WTO is like one big Westernized cluestick handcrafted by corporations w/the support of their (large) governments.

The RIAA/MPAA/Software industry would love to get Russia into the WTO and Eastern European (former Soviet) Countries into the EU, later into the WTO. Once they accomplish that, they can use their handcrafted cluestick to beat the laws of those countries into a nice compliant & westernized form.

Those untapped 'markets' can only be tapped if the legal, political and enforcement landscape is appropriate for the making of large quantities of money.

Re:if it seems too good to be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462782)

Apparently allofmp3 is already offering downloads for the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers'

Would that be the RHCPs that are accused of plagiarism [mercurynews.com] themselves?

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462459)

... the RIAA hinders YOU??

Just as well (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462460)

Russia is better off going isolationlist and not joining the WTO. Look at the mess we have here in America as an example. Our politicians have an incessent need to butt their noses in everyone else's business, despite the citizen base not wanting them to do so. We (meaning our government) has no right to tell other countries how to handle their business at all. Our influence should end at the border and tariffs, unless assistance is a) explicitly requested from others and b) supported/approved by citizens.

Don't listen to the US. Show a backbone like so few other countries have and tell Duhbya to fuck off already. Don't cooperate with the current administration one iota; wait and see what the 2008 election brings. Hopefully the next administration will be far less corrupt.

Re:Just as well (3, Funny)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462515)

the next administration being far less corrupt?

you are adorable.

Re:Just as well (5, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462517)

Why was the parent marked as a flaimbait?

I live in Russia and I don't really want my country to join the WTO, and it's a very widespread attitude here. WTO imposes too much unpopular restrictions (for example, we'd have to raise internal prices on gas and petrol).

Re:Just as well (4, Insightful)

billoday (853912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462567)

Seriously... I remember complaining about American IP laws and being told, "if you don't like it, move somewhere else." The US has already subverted most of Europe, Eastern Asia, and pretty much every other developed country (at least on the books). So where should I move?

the answer is north of michigan. (2, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462641)

I remember reading a website published by the canadian authorities detailing their conclusions regarding the DMCA and the filesharing debate in general.

It is highly unlikely they will adopt such laws for the forseeable future, as this website basically said "yeah we know theyre lying their asses off"

Re:the answer is north of michigan. (1)

billoday (853912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462788)

Yeah that nice place keeps looking nicer...

Global Warming making the climate habitable, a conservative government that says, "hey, we like universal healthcare", and a reasonable perspective on copyright are all things I can support. Captain Copyright [captaincopyright.ca] , on the other hand...

Regardless of legal impediments, the software (and hardware) industries are making it all a moot point as quickly as is legally feasible.

Re:Just as well (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462571)

The only part of that comment that is flaimbait is hoping that the next administration is less corrupt. Things aren't getting any better.

illegal... how so? (2, Funny)

Slotty (562298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462464)

Ahhhh the article says it operates through a loop hole in the law (russian law) against the spirit of the law is not breaking the law...

unless it impacts on corporate America of course

A one world corporate government (4, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462466)

The WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF are much bigger threats to self-determination and national sovereignty than the U.N.

Our copyright system is very peculiar, but very good for business so it will be imposed on the whole world.

"It is totally unprecedented to have a pirate site operating so openly for so long," said Neil Turkewitz

It is only piracy according to our intellectual property laws, which have very little philosophical or pragamtic basis.

Re:A one world corporate government (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462633)

So the real question is whether it is really illegal under Russian law. Joining the WTO is likely not only based on the Us opinion. Would be a severe mistake to exclude the WTO although the WTO as I know it is a very aerogant and intransparent body when it comes to civil society.

It is not illegal in Russia (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462677)

according to the article. Other commentters have stated that the WTO is not popular in Russia. In my opinion, no one should join it.

Welcome to the Free Market (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462468)

The free market has arrived. Globalization at its finest. Sure US Company Wal-Mart don't care about Chinese slaves making shirts for pennies, why should we give a damn about 80 cents albums for download? The world is sick, welcome to the wild west which we call the internet.

They'll try to lock us down, and take our freedom. But our Russian friends, our fellow Native American brothers, and our Columbian stimulant merchants will continue fighting for what's right. Free markets my friend. Call them black market if you want, but that's just racist :)

Dear US citizen, (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462476)

Who is running your country?

Re:Dear US citizen, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462554)

"Who is running your country?"

The World Bank.

Re:Dear US citizen, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462807)

Who is running your country?

It is the party that stole the election [rollingstone.com] , of course. It's called democracy, asshole.

Perfect fit. (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462478)

"The result is that numerous organizations in Russia receive royalties for the use of foreign artistic works, but never pass on that money to the artists"

With the way a lot of the music industry works, it looks like they'll fit right in.

"These collecting agencies are thieves and frauds because they accept money while pretending to represent artists", said Eric Baptiste

Yeah, well, pot, meet kettle, you two will get along fine.

communism (4, Insightful)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462484)

this is a country where for 70 years everyting belonged to the public domain, this whole american copyright stuff is a bit alien

anyways russians can always play the energy card, switch off gas to whole of europe and watch the shit hit the fan ;) by that stage WTO will be begging the russians to join

Re:communism (2, Insightful)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462532)

anyways russians can always play the energy card, switch off gas to whole of europe and watch the shit hit the fan

Yeah, and they could also cut off their noses to spite their faces. I don't think that allofmp3.com is going to replace the lost revenues of Russia's number one export.

Re:communism (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462750)

u can turn same argument around and say WTO will not be willing loosing russias resources over an mp3 site ;)

all of this is nothing more than sabre rattling by US politicians with RIAA/MPAA checks in their back pockets

russia has the most natural resources than any other country in the world and a highly educated population

Sucks for the WTO... (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462490)

Russia is setting up to be a pretty big economic power.

Re:Sucks for the WTO... (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462578)

Russia is setting up to be a pretty big economic power.
Yeah, right above that "big economic power" the Netherlands, and quite a bit behind that other "big economic power" Mexico. Link [nationmaster.com] . If we go by GNP, things are (as expected) even worse. By GNP, Russia is quite a bit below the Netherlands, and only a bit better than that "big economic power" Belgium. Link. [nationmaster.com]

Re:Sucks for the WTO... (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462778)

Hardly. Russia is ranked nineth [cia.gov] by GDP (substract the World and the EU from the rankings and Russia's 11 goes to 9) and probably lower in terms of PPP. Although it's enjoyed robust growth recently due to high oil prices, its corrupt bureaucracy and lack of political transparency hamper important reforms. The judiciary is not independent. The population is falling due to a combination of emigration, low birth rates and high death rates. Putin recently called on Russians to have more children to increase the population; apparently he trying to reverse the centuries-old Russian habit of expending and exploiting its population like a natural resource.

Russia is actually a declining economic power, despite the aberation of growth that comes only because of high oil prices. China and India are the rising economic powers.

i have to say as russian (4, Interesting)

skyfi (978768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462499)

we use us dollars in a big amount of places. So it is just called as "Standart Unit" in price lists (mostly in internet and computer hardware shops), in russian (Uslovnaya Edinitsa). So about piracing mp3's, not to much people use such sites (mostly called bydlosites). There are a lot of free sources and home networks

Re:i have to say as russian (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462666)

mostly called bydlosites*

* "bydlo" = sheeple

China (3, Interesting)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462502)

One way China is ahead of the game is their artists / music industry have given up on CD sales revenue. The artist makes money, or tries to, by selling concert tickets and with marketing tie-ins. In India bootlegs are available the day they are released. It won't come as much of a suprise to \.ers that, as the US moves toward this model, it is corporate profits and support staff who seem to be taking the heat / losing the livelyhood.

As a career sideman, I feel no pain for the old industry passing (especially the lawyers), but the job of recording engineer is going the way of the hatmaker. Actually that analogy breaks down: The job of recording artist and recording engineer are being merged and will not pay very well. There used to be more work for painters, too.

OT: There's a bigger issue here about labor and specialization - the best singer I've ever knew (hits in the 60s) was taking an occasional plumbing job in the 80s and wasn't bitter: The way he put it was: $30 an hour. This while commanding $2-$4k for 20 - 40 oldies shows a year. I didn't quit playing during the 90s net boom and still work a lot now. I also stay buzzword compliant - this year: AJAX(ugh) and psych-folk(cool).

will not pay very well. Good! (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462618)

The job of recording artist and recording engineer are being merged and will not pay very well.


Good! May be they will do something useful for a society (not for a decadent end of the world crowd of procrastinators) for a change.

Why RIAA cannot demand closing this site (4, Insightful)

zpodcaster (951497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462521)

Everybody's opionion is that all this site sells is pirated music from the US. This is wrong. This site sells completely legal Russian music and audio otherwise unavailable in the United States or Europe: to 10 to 30 million Russian diaspora abroad. The problem with RIAA demands is that they demand a closing of a completely legitimate resource for such content for all of us, Russian speakers forced to look at empty shelves of RIAA storefronts and desperate to find hits of Russian music. The model of selling songs by burning them on bulky things called DVDs or CDs is completely dead, when you look at it from the prospective of a Russian speaking teenager trying to find a Russian 2005-2006 hit in the stores owned by RIAA in the US. There are none. Typically this stores sells some junk from the last century, so the only place we can get that music is from the sites like allofmp3.com. Russian showbusiness is booming now: have you seen any Russian movie from 2005-2006 in the stores owned by MPAA/RIAA? If Hollywood can't make decent movies for the last 5 years, it doesn't mean it's like this everywhere in the world. So, to cut it short: no: Russian courts are right, ignore RIAA.

Re:Why RIAA cannot demand closing this site (1)

Zephiria (941257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462549)

Actually, One of the best films I've seen this year was a Russian film called Night watch.
brutal a bit grusome but a fun film :)
I hope to see more stuff coming from russia soon.

Disturbing Trend (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462523)

**AA have obviously decided to go full speed ahead, push the envelope a bit. See if their interests can be made to trump even national sovereignty. I put it at 50/50 whether the "civilized world" will accept this.

english&dollars (3, Interesting)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462526)

English is well understood in russia, atleast among computer literate people, and dollars are as valid currency there as rubie. Claiming that only reason www-page using english and dollars as currency and located outside uk/usa just to ease piracy is bad excuse.
Russia has over 30 official languages, so maybe english(although its not one of official ones) is used just for compatibility reasons?
Perhaps dollars are used just to ease the price comparison against iTunes et al?

Re:english&dollars (1)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462619)

Claiming that only reason www-page using english and dollars as currency and located outside uk/usa just to ease piracy is bad excuse.
Dollars aren't used in the UK, and English is the official language of a lot of countries other than "uk/usa" (a lot more than you probably think).

Russia has over 30 official languages, so maybe english(although its not one of official ones) is used just for compatibility reasons?
Russia has all those languages because it is an empire. Russian is the only official federal language. Furthermore, pretty much everyone in Russia learns Russian in school, whereas English is mostly only for the privileged, so English would not be a better lingua franca for Russia than Russian.

Perhaps dollars are used just to ease the price comparison against iTunes et al?
The iTunes Store isn't available in Russia.

Re:english&dollars (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462679)

Russia has over 30 official languages, so maybe english(although its not one of official ones) is used just for compatibility reasons?

No. The compatibility language is Russian :-)

Maybe the US... (5, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462552)

Should stop imposing illegal tarrifs on goods from other countries before it starts making demands?

Re:Maybe the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462680)

tarifs and import duties are enumerated constitutional powers of the legislative branch. free trade is unconstitutional. the wto is unconstitutional -- congress has the power to pass laws for them to conduct their business, not to pawn off the powers onto others. that's unconstitutional. yes to tarifs, no to free trade.

Allofmp3: Completely Legal and Licensed (3, Informative)

zpodcaster (951497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462553)

Is it legal to download music from AllOFMP3.com? The availability over the Internet of the ALLOFMP3.com materials is authorized by the license # LS-3?-05-03 of the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society (ROMS) and license # 006/3M-05 of the Rightholders Federation for Collective Copyright Management of Works Used Interactively (FAIR). In accordance to the licenses' terms MediaServices pays license fees for all materials downloaded from the site subject to the Law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights". All these materials are solely for personal use. Any further distribution, resale or broadcasting are prohibited. The works available from ALLOFMP3.com are protected by the Law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights" and are for personal use of a buyer. Commercial use of such material is prohibited. Recording, copying, distribution on any media is possible only upon special consent of a Rightholder. The user bears sole responsibility for any use and distribution of all materials received from AllOFMP3.com. This responsibility is dependent on the national legislation in each user's country of residence. The Administration of AllOFMP3.com does not possess information on the laws of each particular country and is not responsible for the actions of foreign users. http://music.allofmp3.com/help/help.shtml?help=on# top [allofmp3.com]

Re:Allofmp3: Completely Legal and Licensed (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462734)

The Pirate Bay is also completely legal under the laws of the country in which it operates. If a nation like Sweden can be pressured to ignore their own laws and shut down a legal site because of economic threats. What do you think will happen...In Soviet Russia?

LK

The only competition is in lossy formats (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462566)

Let's take a look at a sample album (randomly picked - I'm not a DC fan):

Dixie Chicks: Taking The Long Way
#tracks: 14
Cost to purchase in crappy/lossy 192kb MP3 or AAC: $1.87
Cost to purchase in good lossy 320kB MP3 or AAC: $3.12
Cost to purchase lossless (flac, in this case): $8.78

Cost to purchase from Amazon, (lossless), with case, disc, and liner notes: $9.98

The difference between lossless at AllofMP3 and buying a physical disc is very small. It's not much of a bargain, quite honestly, to get the product from AllofMP3. It would make sense that to get a digital copy of the album from a US supplier would be less expensive than the physical article. Except, for some reason, it isn't. Somehow, the degraded quality copies cost more than the physical version here in the US (I'm assuming that iTunes is still 99c/track, or $13.86 for the whole album). They should be noticably less expense. That's what we were told when CDs were more expensive than cassette tapes: the CD, although less expensive to produce, provides a higher quality sound and therefore commands a premium price.

Once again, the RIAA seems to be paranoid that they might lose a stranglehold on the distribution system (i.e.: would have to compete).

I'm not saying that AllofMP3 are totally innocent here - they are just as guilty of exploiting the system as, say, the oil companies are of exploiting the increase in demand for oil, or small business owners buying a $50,000 Ford King Ranch pickup truck and writing it off on their taxes.

Re:The only competition is in lossy formats (1)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462691)

The fact that an album costs as much on Allofmp3 as it does at Tower Records or Amazon doesn't really have any impact on the argument, if the copyright owners and creators of the album aren't seeing a penny of the allofmp3 sale, and they aren't. I'm as anti-RIAA as the next guy, but this site is clearly illegal here in the United States and it SHOULD be. I can't really understand why people even use it because if you're willing to be in a situation where the content creator gets absolutely no cut of the money, why not just pirate the music outright from usenet or bittorrent? Why pay 10 cents a song for what amounts to pirated (here in the US and most of the western world) content anyway?

Re:The only competition is in lossy formats (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462758)

Sorry, I didn't finish making my point before I hit "submit".

The point is that the RIAA could compete on price and offer a "legal" service at or near their current margins. $8.78 for a FLAC rip vs $9.99 (less physical production and shipping costs, plus b/w) for a clearly legal download from a US distributer? Sure, there will be a few skinflints that will go with the Russian site for $1 less, but wouldn't yoy buy direct for that money? I would.

That's the problem though. They (the RIAA approved outlets) are only offering reduced-quality, DRM encumbered files, at a higher price with digital distribution! There's a big whiskey-tango-foxtrot right there.

Even at the lower bitrates, I fail to see how they would lose money at, say $0.50 to $1 more than the 320kb rate. If the site is causing them so much lost revenue, why not get some of that business back? I suspect that most people who are already paying for dowmloads don't care where they get them from, as long as the price is right. Is it better to get $0.00 per download or $0.05 per download? It's not as if they're in a position where they would have to sell below cost.

As for why people would use this - here's my reason: ease of use, guarantee of quality. I'm willing to pay a couple of dollars to get an album, encoded and tagged properly, in 320kb format. If I want it lossless, I'll buy the CD and rip it (or see if it comes up on nntp). It's about the convenience. If the RIAA want's to let WalMart sell FLAC tracks for $0.30-$0.50 each, or MP3 tracks for a quarter, I'm there. I'm not asking them to be cheaper, I'm only asking for comparable services at a competitive price.

(I can't imagine how mad the RIAA must be for me recording stuff of XM - you know, they should shut down XM radio, those damned pirates, broadcasting copyrighted workls and only paying a blanket licensing fee!)

Russia not joining WTO? (0)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462576)

Russia is irrelevant. It is symptomatic that Russia exists only for copyright violators.

For the record (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462583)

The site features a wide selection of Russian music, but is written in English with prices listed in United States dollars."

That's a bit misleading. The truth is it has both a Russian and English language option. First time users are able to select the langauge of their choice.

I'll be one of the first to admit that I buy songs from allofmp3.com. So far I've loaded my account with 10 dollars twice, and have maybe a couple bucks of that left. I have, from time to time, actually downloaded some of the Russian songs (I find MC Vspyshkin to be rather funny and I can't even understand a word he says, it just popped up as a recommended 'similar artist' one day). But, primarily, I download music that that otherwise would be considered piracy.

Why do I do it? Simple. The alternatives suck. Itunes has come a long way, I'll admit, but I do not want DRM on my music. I do not want restrictions on how and where I can listen to my music for which I've spent perfectly good money. Allofmp3.com not only offers mp3, which unlike itunes songs is practically universal, as well as a wide-range of other formats including *lossless* formats.

When the music industry wisens up and offers a real alternative, a low-priced non-drm way for people to buy music off the internet, then I will switch over. But as long as they keep trying to fight the market and refuse to give the market what it wants, they will never see another one of my consumer dollars. It's called capitalism and the easiest way to put the pirates out of business is to offer a legal alternative. It's ridiculous and anti-capitalist to refuse to sell the product I want to buy then to cry foul when I find someone who will sell it to me.

Just an attribution gripe... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462586)

The original article is on IHT, my favorite news site...

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/01/yourmoney/m p3.php [iht.com]

I didn't read the NYT article but seeing that the author listed is from IHT I assume they've just syndicated it, in full hopefully.

Re:Just an attribution gripe... (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462628)

The International Herald Tribune is a fully owned subsidiary of the New York Times Company and has been since 2003. Previously, it was jointly owned by the Washington Post and the New York Times Company.

This is why you will frequently see the same article printed in both papers.

It's not a piracy site... (1)

muffen (321442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462612)

I think the way it works is that digital distribution of music is the same as radio broadcast in russia. This means that allofmp3 pays a set fee per year, and they are then free to distribute the music best they want. So, the site isn't a piracy site, im certain they are happily paying their yearly fee.

I'm not 100% sure im right, if someone can confirm that this is how it work (or tell me im wrong) it would be great!

Given the US use of the WTO ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462622)

Given the US use of the WTO, perhaps Russia is better off without joining. There is more work in negotiating individual treaties with individual contries, but the potential for an win-win result is better. Better yet, perhaps Russia (and China) should form their own version of a WTO (RCTO/CRTO?) with their rules, then, see who wishes to play!

Wow (4, Insightful)

nicklott (533496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462636)

The RIAA is now influencing US foreign policy! Scary country...

The website seems pretty much legal to me (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462682)

They even allow you to pay you through smart ATMs (which usually allow you to pay any cellphone provider bill, banking bill etc from a single machine): http://music.allofmp3.com/osmp.shtml [allofmp3.com]
However I, as a Russian citizen believe that a very small percentage of Russian mp3 downloaders use the service. mp3s, movies, games and software are usually obtained in LANs (which also act as ISPs). My LAN for example has something like 2 terabytes of pirated content. Even people who can afford a licensed copy of Windows (spend less than 5% of their income for Windows XP) buy it pirated. I know a guy who has a fairly large income but he always says that legal WinXP is too expensive for him. The only people who seem to be using a legal copy of Windows are corporate users who are afraid of MS's legal department. Because of that, only Windows and Office (and a bunch of small apps) are thanslated into Russian.

Lets get it over with already! (2, Funny)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462695)

Wouldn't the world be a safer place, for wage-slave citizens and mega-corporations alike, if the U.S. just attacked the every other country and created one global government? Then we wouldn't have to worry about the difficulty of enforcing U.S. law in foreign countries. There would be no foreign countries! Problem solved! I nominate G.W. as our first global dictator, er... I mean first elected president of the United Countries of Freedom-World!

CD purchase matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15462726)

When I want to buy new music, my purchasing process it pretty simple:

1- Load RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com]
2- If label is a RIAA member, buy from allofmp3.com
3- If not, buy CD.

I love allofmp3, it's really how online music stores should be. I believe it to be legal, but I frankly don't really care on way or the other... I'm not sleeping any less at night. Want me to buy your CD? Make good music, don't put DRM on it and don't make deals with the devil to publish it. Pretty simple.

World Police at it again (4, Interesting)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462747)

"American trade negotiators may demand the shutdown of AllofMP3.com as a condition of Russia joining the World Trade Organization"

WHAT THE F**K?!

I think America is getting too big for its boots lately, I won't mention Iraq, but they basically told the Swedes to shut down The Pirate Bay and now they think they can blackmail Russia too - and over such an important thing as the WTO?

OK then America, you shut down Microsoft or we'll kick you out of the UN.

Priorities? (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462757)

I dunno... You'd think if they would deny Russia entry to the WTO... It would be... I duno... Say... Their support of Iran's nuclear program and their threat to veto any resolution against them?

Although, maybe pirated MP3s are much more of an existensial threat than nuclear weapons.

It's ... illegal? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15462769)

You mean allofmp3 is illegal? We could just as well save those 10 cents a track and download them from torrent?

Ok, if da man says so, who am I to contradict him? Fire up Azureus and be a good citizen!
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