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AllofMP3 = nothing in wake of agreement

U.S. and Russia strike deal to close music-download site

By Jeroen Doorn
November 29, 2006 12:00 PM ET

(WebWereld Netherlands) -- Russia has agreed to U.S. demands to close the popular music website Allofmp3.com. The U.S. wants the site closed to fight music piracy, and Russia has agreed to improve its chance of gaining membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Russia is also intending to close down other websites that allegedly infringe copyrights, according to a document (PDF format) on the Web site of the U.S. trade representative.

The U.S. and Russia have agreed to combat piracy by closing down several websites that infringe copyrights, according to the document, which cites Allofmp3.com as a prime example of such a Web site.

The popular site has been subject to criticism for some time now. Organizations such as the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have accused Allofmp3.com several times of being a prime source of music piracy. A U.S. trade Representative, Susan Schwab, has stated previously that Russia can never be a member of the WTO as long as the country hosts sites such as Allofmp3.com.

The team behind Allofmp3.com has always denied running an illegal Web site. They pay fees to the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society (ROMS) which supposedly represents artists and copyright holders in Russia. Artists themselves state they have never received any money from ROMS.

There is fierce international pressure on the Russian government to close down Allofmp3.com. Prices of songs on the Web site are about one-tenth the price in other music stores such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes store.

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