2024-05-20 11:40:23
allofmp3 losses visa account, switches to ad support economics/middlemen/music/news

Free-for-all over Russian music site – Print Version – International Herald Tribune:

Free-for-all over Russian music site By Thomas Crampton International Herald Tribune WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2006 PARIS A Moscow-based Web site that the U.S. Commerce Department has branded as the world’s highest- volume online seller of pirated music announced plans Tuesday to release hundreds of thousands of albums free. Low prices and ease of use have made AllofMP3 a consumer favorite among music download sites, but the site – which claims to operate legally under Russian copyright law – faces continuing legal battles with the music industry and harsh criticism from the U.S. government. On Tuesday, the credit card company Visa International said it had suspended card service to the site, citing concerns over copyright issues. The U.S. trade representative, Susan Schwab, has warned that continued operation of the site signals a lack of respect for intellectual property law that could jeopardize Russia’s long-sought entry into the World Trade Organization. The company, which lists no telephone number on its Web site and normally declines all comment, undertook a rare public relations offensive Tuesday. Vadim Mamotin, director general of the site’s parent company, Mediaservices, spoke through a translator during an interview by telephone with the International Herald Tribune and then participated in an online chat with 59 journalists. Defiant, Mamotin maintained that the company operated legally under Russian law. “In six years of operation we have never been convicted by a Russian court or declared illegal,” Mamotin said, speaking through the translator. “Under Russian law we are 100 percent legal.” The site, which claims five million subscribers and a growth rate of 5,000 a day, remunerates artists by paying 15 percent of its revenue to a collecting agency, the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, or ROMS by its initials in Russian, Mamotin said.

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