ISPs Refuse to Block Cheap Russian Music Sites

ISPs and their trade association have refused to block a pair of websites on demands from the music industry. RISA, South Africa's answer to the RIAA, demanded ISPs block the Russian sites because they sell music for as little as 9 cents per track - or less for full albums.

The Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) recently demanded that ISPs should block two Russian hosted music sites because they offer music for sale at much cheaper rates than those already available in the country.

Soundike and GoMusicNow are very much like the AllofMP3 alternatives we wrote about a while ago. They all offer dirt cheap music for direct download with tracks as low as 9 cents each with further discounts for whole album purchases.

Adding insult to injury, many of these sites carry content which would be more at home on a torrent site, such as a full length ‘Michael Jackson Memorial Mix’ bootleg being sold by Soundike for $0.12. So-called ‘Scene’ rips can be found on these sites in abundance.

Needless to say, the music industry in most parts of the world hate these sites and isn’t averse to taking legal action against them to shut them down or in this case, get them blocked from the Internet. Hindering this process is the fact that many such sites are licensed in Russia by the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems, which they claim allows them to operate legally, at least inside Russia.

Despite the noise being made by RISA, South African ISPs aren’t about to comply with their requests. On behalf of its members the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) wrote to RISA rejecting the demands.

“It isn’t up to ISPA to decide whether or not websites should be blocked. It is up to ISPA to assist and advise its members in dealing with take-down notices made in terms of the ECT Act,” Mybroadband reports ISPA GM Ant Brooks as saying.

Brooks went on to explain that copyright law only allows for removal of content hosted on the network to which any takedown complaint is sent and cannot be used to block access to material on other networks or indeed, in other countries.

ISPA has informed its members that the music industry demands are invalid and will be rejected. However, blocking sites is possible, just not via the route RISA would like.

In common with other attempted blocks around the world on various sites (including the recent proposed block of The Pirate Bay in The Netherlands) courts in South Africa do have the power to block websites although that would require some expensive due process, something RISA would like to avoid.

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