Russian music-sharing site AllofMP3.com gathered considerable attention in recent years, much of it accompanied by rose-tinted and dubious analysis of its legality. AllofMP3.com offered CD-quality music tracks for sale and download at low prices, e.g. $1.50 or less per album. AllofMP3.com claimed its service was protected by licenses from the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society. The scope of those licenses and whether they authorized AllofMP3.com to distribute licensed content everywhere in the world, were murky, (1) but the site’s supporters claimed (among other things) that because “the authority concerning intellectual property stems from individual countries” one in the U.S. who downloaded files from a Russian site was covered by Russian, not U.S., copyright laws. (2) This is certainly a novel interpretation of state sovereignty. The same argument would support the legality of downloading, say, child pornography in the U.S. from a country where it was legal to do so, because the authority concerning legality of child pornography also stems from individual countries.
In any event, AllofMP3.com has entered the ranks of ex-Internet music-download sites. Techcrunch reported (sourced from a document from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative posted on Digg) that Russia agreed to shut AllofMP3.com and other sites that “permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works.” Under the heading Fighting Internet Piracy the document summarizes the U.S. – Russia agreement as follows:
- The United States and Russia agreed on the objective of shutting down websites that permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works. The agreement names the Russia-based website allofmp3.com as an example of such a website.
- Russia will:
- take enforcement actions against the operation of Russia-based websites; and
- investigate and prosecute companies that illegally distribute copyright works on the Internet.
- Russia will work to enact legislation by June 1, 2007, to stop collecting societies from acting without right holder consent,
- Russia will also work to enact legislation implementing the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet treaties.
The document summarizes other Russian enforcement activities including those focused on optical disc piracy, pharmaceutical test data, criminal activities, and border enforcement
(1) Is allofmp3.com legal?, Tech Law Advisor, 28-Apr-04; (2) AllOFMP# is Legal – And Cheap to Boot, FADMINE
Russia Agrees To US Request To Shut Down AllofMP3.com, Techcrunch 28-Nov-06