The Russian download site has gotten a lot of press lately: First it went offline for a couple of days, leading to speculations of a shutdown. Just a few days after Allofmp3 returned from the dead, which was answered by the music industry by announing further legal proceedings. Even the New York Times reported recently about Allofmp3, carefully describing the site as "possibly illegal".

Of course every mention of in the press is driving more customers to the site. So why would the music industry help Allofmp3 with their advertising? Because the Russian website will have to shut down this fall, and IFPI is just waiting to claim this as their victory.

Allofmp3's days are numbered because of a change in Russian copyright law. Russia currently allows the use of phonorecordings without a license of the copyright holder as long as compensation is being paid. The law was revamped in 2004 to conform with international standards. However, the provisions Allofmp3 is basing it's business model on are only set to expire on September 1st 2006. is well aware of that and already announced to change their business model by then. This will most likely result in a completely different and much smaller catalogue. Most of the western artists that make so alluring now will be missing in less than three months.

Three months seems to be like a good time to wait out, right? After all, the problem will disappear pretty soon. The IFPI begs to differ. They continue to drum against Allofmp3, claiming that the site is illegal here, there and everywhere. From the IFPI website:

" is not a legal service either in Russia or anywhere else. It is distributing music without any permission from the artists or copyright holders. Unlike all the legitimate sites, it does not pay artists or copyright holders so it is effectively stealing from those who create music. Like most things that appear to be too good to be true, is not what it seems."

Tough words. Which would be more effective if an IFPI ally wouldn't think otherwise. In a 2005 report, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) stated:

"At long last, in 2004, Russia adopted copyright amendments including the protection for pre-existing works (prior to 1973) and sound recordings (prior to 1995). The copyright amendments were also intended to implement (for eventual accession) the WIPO digital treaties.

Unfortunately, one key provision, the exclusive right of making available (and right of communication to the public), although adopted, was delayed until September 1, 2006. The new right would be a particularly useful enforcement tool for both authors and producers of phonograms. This short-sighted step means that effective enforcement of certain types of digital piracy will face unnecessary legal obstacles until at least the last half of 2006."

So who are those IIPA guys? It's a lobybing organization that tries to toughen international laws in order to protect US-based copyright industries. Some of it's member organizations are the Business Software Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. Oups. Guess someone didn't forward the memo.

Or maybe they did. Just think about it: An enemy that will have to give up in less than 90 days. A victory that will fall right into your lap. A little bit of drama during summertime. A good way to show shareholders you're winning the war against piracy. That's really almost too good to be true.
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