The noose is tightening around Russian website Allofmp3.com. The record industry, which now has the site on its radar screen, won a small victory in the UK this week that will allow it to file suit against the site. The British Phonographic Industry (the UK’s version of the RIAA) received permission from London’s High Court to “serve proceedings” against the website. When that happens, the Russian judicial system will be obligated by international agreement to look into the matter, which means another legal headache is developing for Allofmp3.
The site already has to contend with two legal cases against its director and former director, and additional pressure from the UK won’t make things any easier for a service that finds itself in the crosshairs of the international community’s Piracy Sniper Rifle. The Americans have been leaning hard on Russia to do something about the site, but Allofmp3 just keeps chugging along, offering up new Dashboard Confessional, Keane, and Red Hot Chili Peppers for under US$2.
The site has weathered Russian legal scrutiny before, but the newly politicized claims from abroad could make it harder to stay in business. Allofmp3 claims to operate with a valid license, of course, but none of the money they make trickles back to artists or labels abroad. The BPI plans to argue that even if the license is legal under Russian law, it is certainly not legal in the UK, where Allofmp3 now accounts for 14 percent of all legal downloads.
Despite the emphasis that the music industry often places on sites like Allofmp3.com, it’s worth remembering that most music found on portable players is legitimate.
Are the site’s days numbered? It’s too soon to tell, but prudence would suggest that if you have any credit at the site, now’s the time to use it.