The RIAA has declared victory over Russian music download store AllofMP3, which it accused of the illegal distribution of millions of copyright tracks. The site, which was declared legal by a court last October, no longer offers music – but has spawned dozens of fully operational spin-offs. Victory for RIAA? Not quite.
When pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United States government caused the Kremlin to take down AllofMP3 in mid 2007, the RIAA must’ve been jumping for joy.
Before the shutdown, AllOfMP3 had around 6 million users who were able to download songs and albums for a tiny fraction of the price of authorized alternatives such as iTunes. The RIAA said it could not live with this situation.
In December 2006, the RIAA filed a complaint against the site, stating that AllofMP3 sold millions of tracks to the public yet gave no money back to their artists.
According to a report, on May 20th 2008 the RIAA filed papers in federal court, Manhattan, dropping its copyright infringement lawsuit against AllofMP3.
“The site is now defunct and out of business, the result of a successful anti-piracy initiative,” Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman told Bloomberg.
Notably, Lamy did not mention a fully operational site set up by the same people as AllofMP3, called Mp3Sparks. Different name, same tunes, no lawsuit.
AllofMP3 was blocked by a Swedish ISP back in 2006 when it got caught up in the anti-AllofMP3 hysteria but later retracted its stance.
In August 2007, AllofMP3 was acquitted in Russia of all charges that had been put forward by IFPI and on October 24th 2007, a district court in Moscow confirmed the innocent verdict.
“They [RIAA] never correctly commenced the proceeding in the first place,” said John Crossman, who represented the site’s owner, MediaServices LLC.
“Maybe it was a rare triumph of good sense.”
In the meantime, dozens of similar sites operate in Russia, delivering super-cheap music to the masses in much the same way as AllofMP3 did.
Victory for the RIAA? Not quite.