Moscow (Russia) - The Russian government has finally forced Allofmp3.com - basically the Russian version of iTunes - to shut down. This ends a two year saga in which the United States and the World Trade Organization both urged the nation to take a firm stance against music and video piracy. The victory was short-lived because an almost identical website, created by the same owners of Allofmp3.com, has sprung up as a replacement.
Russian company Mediaservices Inc. created Allofmp3.com approximately seven years ago and the online music store has sold millions of songs for very cheap prices - an average song costs about 10 to 20 cents each. In comparison, iTunes songs are generally 99 cents each.
Of course you can imagine what the RIAA and major music labels thought about this. In December 2006, the RIAA filed a $1.6 trillion dollar lawsuit against Mediaservices, but the suit was largely ignored because American lawsuits have almost no reach against Russian companies.
Mediaservices argues that it is a legal company because it pays royalties to the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS) which is basically the Russian version of SoundExchange in the United States. The problem is that the major labels don’t recognize ROMS and have refused to accept any payment from the organization.
While Allofmp3.com may be down for the count, Mediaservices has made an almost identical website called mp3sparks.com where the songs are even cheaper at 15 cents each.