Stopping MP3 pirates Kremlin style
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch notes this morning that popular "quasi-legal" MP3 download service AllofMP3.com went down over the weekend, and has not yet come back up. The company operates under the dubious aegis of outfits like the "Russian Multimedia and Internet Society" which, reports MP3.com, grant it the right "to sell any song in any format without having to obtain the permission of copyright holders." Operating in a legal gray area, the site has sold music for as little as 11 cents a song, prices which have driven enormous traffic. In the U.K. it is second only to iTunes.
Arrington suspects that the abrupt shutdown may be the work of the Kremlin, responding in its own no-nonsense way to increased Western pressure to reign in Russian intellectual property theft. Apparently no fan of iTunes, Arrington regrets the shutdown, arguing that the service is "disruptive to a broken business model." At least one of his readers, however, questions his logic: "I'm all for disrupting the RIAA's and MPAA's rather antiquated business model but I fail to see how "buying" music through a channel where none of the money goes to the artists themselves will do so."
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