October 18, 2006 11:35 AM PDT

Visa halts its service for allofmp3.com

Credit card company Visa International said Wednesday that it has suspended service to music download site allofmp3.com, the latest setback for the Russian company accused in the U.S. of pirating music.

"It's no longer permitted to accept Visa cards," said Simon Barker, a Visa International spokesman. "The action we've taken is in line with legislation passed in Russia and international copyright law."

The news comes as allofmp3.com launches a public relations campaign to counter claims by the U.S. government that the site is an outlaw operation. On Tuesday, allofmp3.com announced plans to give away hundreds of thousands of albums for free, according to a story in the International Herald Tribune.

U.S. trade representatives say allofmp3.com is profiting from unauthorized music sales. Executives of allofmp3.com say that the company carefully adheres to copyright law in Russia. That doesn't satisfy U.S. music labels' concerns about copyright infringement, however.

Like music download sites that came before it, such as Napster and Kazaa, allofmp3.com offers unlicensed music for deeply discounted prices.

After years of court battles, Napster and Kazaa now cooperate with record companies. Other sites around the globe, such as Spain-based Weblisten.com, have succumbed to legal pressure and shut their doors.

The U.S. has indicated that by allowing allofmp3.com to continue operating, Russia could be jeopardizing its bid to join the World Trade Organization.

See more CNET content tagged:
Visa International, music download, Russia, copyright law, Napster Inc.


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Napster and Kazaa?
Napster and Kazaa were free, I was lead to believe. Not at a deeply discounted price.
Posted by airwalkery2k (117 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So where's the CNUT promo for the RIAA?
Where's the article that proclaims that the RIAA is a holier-than-thou operation that exists for the goodness of the music world?
RIAA nazis are always mad that they aren't ripping off the consumer as much as they did in years past.
Posted by cnutsucks (25 comments )
Link Flag
Unlicensed? Maybe here...Not there,,,
" Like music download sites that came before it, such as Napster and Kazaa, allofmp3.com offers unlicensed music for deeply discounted prices."

I don't know if I agree with this. allofmp3 states they are absolutely licensed "in Russia" and that they regularly make payments to the RIAA equal in thier country. I have no way of verifying this but its their argument.

I don't think its fair to compare them to Kazaa and Napster which were free for all peer2peer networks. Without even the scent of legitmacy as per music files.

AllofMp3 is more accurately described as a really cheap iTunes for Russians. (not that I am defending them).
Posted by LarryLo (164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sure but....
<<allofmp3 states they are absolutely licensed "in Russia" >>

Sure... there are laws in the U.S., and their are laws in Russia. They do differ.

But, there are also International Copyright Treaties, of which the U.S. and Russia have both signed. Violation of these treaties, especially by allofmp3.com, is one major roadblock to Russia joining the WTO.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
The article is correct
Actually the article is pretty much correct. Allofmp3.com might have licenses for the music themselves, but they do NOT sell you the license for the music. This is definitely NOT at all the same as iTunes. Essentially it's like as if I own a CD and then I put copies of it up on Kazaa or some other file trading site. Sure, I own the music, but that doesn't mean I can distribute to anyone and everyone.

Basically Allofmp3.com was getting away with this due to a loophole in Russian copyright law. Essentially they were operating as an on-demand internet radio station, charging for the bandwidth for you to download and listen to the songs. They weren't selling you the music so you never had ANY legal right to *OWN* that music, you could just listen to it just as you can listen to a regular radio station.

This loophole in Russian copyright law was closed on the 1st of September of this year. Ever since then Allofmp3.com has been operating fully outside of the law. They are now 100% illegal in Russia and, as such, it is fully illegal to import (buy) music from them.
Posted by Hoser McMoose (182 comments )
Link Flag
*shrugs* I just canceled my citibank Visa
Fine by me. The only reason I kept my Visa around was because of allofmp3. I just canceled my CitiBank card and signed up for MC. No skin off my back.
The RIAA and its lackies can all burn for all I care.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How much did the RIAA pay Visa?
When did Visa become an artist rights organization? They can simply decide that they feel a business is doing something wrong and suspend the privileges without any legal recourse?

What if Visa decided that they didn't want to handle donations to Deomcrats? Or to certain non-profits that oppose big business? Or to adult video stores? Where does it end? Does Visa have the right to decide where, when, and how I spend my money?
Posted by StinkyMcButt (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How much did the RIAA pay Visa?
When did Visa get to decide where, when, and how I spend my own money?
Posted by StinkyMcButt (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you kidding?
<<When did Visa get to decide where, when, and how I spend my own money?>>

You can spend your money however you want. But if you want to use Visa's system of credit, you have to abide by their rules. You've already signed the agreement, and so did allofmp3.com. The difference, is that allofmp3.com violated the agreement - so they can no longer use the Visa system.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
How much???
More than they were making from allofmp3. Simple business decision. Shrug.
Posted by scioara (21 comments )
Link Flag
Watch then get reinstated
I'm sure Visa do not want to lose their entire business in Russia just because of RIAA
Posted by Flytrap (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They ARE crooks
I dunno about this business with the Russian law, but the people who run allofmp3 are crooks. They lie about the source and quality of their downloads, and the sell your e-mail address to anybody who asks for it. (I have proof, as I use a unique e-mail address for each online company I gave my e-mail to.)
Posted by JonathanB (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are wrong
I don't know about selling your email address. I already get so much spam I would hardly notice an increase.

But I have used the service for a while now and I have never found a discrepancy in the quality of music I paid for and what I received.

AllofMp3.com is an amazing service. And I am not just talking about the price. I would be willing to pay $.99 a song if, and only if, I received DRM free music and a 192 bit rate. I have never shared the music I have downloaded from AllofMp3, I see no need to expose myself to lawsuits. I only use the service because I do not want buy any content, books, music, movies that are not guaranteed to play on a device I buy 5 years from now.

What the music industry needs is to allows DRM free downloads or a standard DRM scheme (meaning the music I buy from napster can play on my iPod). Online music will never truely take off until these hurtles are overcome.
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
Don't know if they are crooks, but they also sold my email address to spammers!!!!!!!!!
Posted by dntlkbc (2 comments )
Link Flag
The fact of the matter is....
Sure, AllOfMP3 may possibly be legal, or it may not. But the fact of the matter is, it gives people what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

It's a simple fact that if the Big 5 actually listened to their customers and fans, people would buy more "legal" music.

1- DRM, unfortunately, is here to stay. Why not make it as unobtrusive as possible? I don't want to be locked into having to use the song on my iPod only. What if I get a new device that uses WMA? Make the media and DRM interoperable.

2- Better value. When I purchase a CD at $15, which has an average song count of 15 songs.... suddenly, iTunes doesn't look like a good deal. Sure, I can go subscription, but I actually want to have a copy of the song "of my own" (and yes, I know I'm just buying the "rights" to use the song). One of the key factors to AllOfMP3's success, is it's pricing. Tiered pricing, if launched properly launched and accepted, can give customers a good deal. That, however, is NOT an excuse to charge more than a dollar per song.
The "Wal Mart Effect" will win if you allow it. Sell lots of songs for little money (say, as low as $.30/song) and you WILL sell more than you would at a much higher price. Stop ripping us off, and we will show you loyalty. Screw with us like you have, and now you see where we go.....

3- Stop assuming everyone is out to steal your content. By integrating root kits and other nasty tech into digital media files and CDs, you are basically saying that you don't trust any of your customers. If I love a song that I just listened to, and I want a friend to hear it and give them a copy- you should feel HONORED. Honored that you may have a new fan/customer that may want to buy your content. Let us share, stop locking everything down, and again, we will reward you with loyalty.

AllOfMP3 would not last very long if the Big 5 accepted their fate and evolved. Using some tips from above and giving customers more incentive would go a long way to ensuring we all have a better digital media experience. Until then, AllOfMP3 is on my bookmarks list.
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Although I agree with most&
of what you said. I must say that an unobtrusive DRM is just as
useful as not having DRM. It has to limit what you can do with
the song otherwise its not doing its job and if it limits you in
some way than some people will consider it obtrusive no matter
how unobtrosive it is. I have no problem with iTunes because I
like the iPods and thus thats what I'm going to buy. However I
think the makers of MP3 players should agree on a way to "pair"
a player with your computer. That way you can use whatever
player you want but still can only transfer music to "paired"
player. And the iTunes DRM format is one of the most
unobtrusive forms I have seen all you have to do is burn your
music to a CD and you can do whatever you want with it. $.99 is
not a lot to pay in my opinion, sure if you want all the songs on
the CD then its not much less then buying the CD but how often
do you like all the songs on a CD? Most of the time I only like 2
or 3 songs on a CD, so the CD would be a waste of money. With
all that being said I'm not a big fan of DRM, I just understand
why its there.
Posted by jones_8099 (177 comments )
Link Flag
Thank you for not telling me how I can spend my money.
Posted by eric.l (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AllofMP3's "Strangest Press Conference Ever"
The behind the scenes tale of AllofMP3's press conference yesterday:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.potomacflacks.com/pf/2006/10/firm_arranges_s.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.potomacflacks.com/pf/2006/10/firm_arranges_s.html</a>
Posted by akovacevich (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
weird format, but good points made.
Most interesting is that the RIAA is not accepting payments from ROMS. They seem to neglect to mention that they are turning down money offered when they claim they are not compensated for sales by allofMP3.
Typical smoke and mirrors on the RIAA's part.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
That's ok, they accept Paypal
and paypal accepts visa so the site can still accept visa by proxy.
Posted by Ordeith (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's right, condone the theft of intellectual property
How would you like it if people stole your music or profited from it and gave you nothing? I bet you would change your tune fast dude!
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Link Flag
no paypal at allofmp3
I don't think they accept paypal anymore or paypal doesn't want them for a customer because I just checked and its not an option at the allofmp3.com website
Posted by logos (173 comments )
Link Flag
There's only one thing wrong . . .
which is their pricing structure and that the record companies are not getting their billions. That's the gist of this whole thing.

This is one of the best looking and operational sites I have ever seen. As a member you can preview the whole cut/album instead of just 30 seconds. The site is very pleasant on the eye (clean and professional). Navigation is European logical and not American expected. Tough, once you understand, you'll do just fine. The ability to choose your format and quality level and the way the product is delivered, is shear genius. We won't being seeing this in the states.

I agree that the Artists and the Record Companies should get their "FAIR" share. But enough is enough. I use to work for several record companies and the gluttony and monetary waste was/is appalling. But their over zealous money grubbing is coming to an end and anything that promotes that scares them and the purveyors of this become fair game in their eyes. Get over yourselves and be thankful we want your over priced music. I was told by a Peaches/Sound Warehouse Regional Manager when the CD was coming out that I would love the new format and that it allow them to "Lower" the price since they were cheaper to make. I haven't seen CD's any cheaper than vinyl and vinyl is still better sounding. It's obvious that we're over their antics. Look at the demise of Tower Records.

All this threatening and cutting off services is only going to push those "buyers" to peer-to-peer DL services and no one will get any cash.
Posted by SandFarmer (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True, true
"The ability to choose your format and quality level and the way the product is delivered, is shear genius. We won't being seeing this in the states."

This and the crippling DRM are the reasons I don't and probably never will "buy" songs online. But you're right, the RIAA will never correct this problem.
Why is it a problem? Well, although the RIAA would rather have me re-purchase the same song over and over for different applications, no consumer in full understanding is ever going to support that idea. However reality is that at home on my stereo, MP3s at 160K sound like crap. I want lossless audio for my permanent collection. (Perhaps I'm stange in that I have every CD I've ever purchased and view my music collection as a growing asset I have invested in and accumulated over my lifetime.) However in my car, on a player used for running etc, lossless files are overkill and huge space wasters. I have a justifiable need to be able to convert the music I have into different formats/rates for different uses. I really shouldn't have to go through some crazy burn to CD, re-rip gyrations to accomplish this with music I have paid for.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
Totally agree
There's something wrong when you can buy a blockbuster DVD that cost many millions to make, for much the same price as a CD that often only has a couple of tracks (sometimes 1) that's worth listening to. Of course others will say use itunes but that's just as big a rip-off per tune, and limited to your gadgets. The whole sector needs to get rid of the monopolistic, money-grabbing attitude, and start delivering at a reasonable price.

Rock On!
Posted by pj-mckay (161 comments )
Link Flag
They have a way around this already...
...by using another service to handle their credit cards (I do NOT buy from them, ok?? I just was curious and looked at how they are handling things due to this. I was curious how they would respond and I had a lot of popcorn made and needed something to do while I munched on it (extra butter too! Yum!)).

So no big deal, they didn't miss a beat. Miss a beat, get it? That's a funny. A music download site, not missing a beat? Music? Beat?

Oh, nevermind.
Posted by gernblan (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AllofMP3 is a fantastic service
I won't candy-coat this... thankfully there are several ways to pay for the AllofMP3 service so Visa and Mastercard be damned. The selection of music available at the brilliantly designed site simly blows the doors off iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, etc. They offer a longer preview than the typical (and utterly useless) 30 seconds per song that every other site offers, which for some types of music (ambient for instance) is a god-send. Furthermore, unlike the infuriating iTunes, you can preview an entire album at once. Also importantly, you can choose the quality of the download in terms of bitrate, all the while purchasing music at prices that make me buy more music and expose myself to many more bands and albums than I would at a buck a track.

The fact that the record labels have elected to not sign on with the Russian version of performance rights organizations BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC is not AllofMP3's fault. And the truth is that I buy more discs now from Amazon et al BECAUSE I have been exposed to so much more incredible music at great prices from AllofMP3. The RIAA and the U.S. gov't have absolutely got to end the Gestapo-like policing of this issue. Enough said.
Posted by audiotruth (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What are CC companies thinking these days?
Ok, now, credit card companies working to fight online purchases of child porn is one thing but, music sites...come on!

I use AllOfMP3 all the time and, in all honesty, I think AllOfMP3 is an awesome site! So far, the best part about AllOfMP3 is that, due to the fact that AllOfMP3 contains far more artists and albums than most other music sites, AllOfMP3 has introduced me to some of the most interesting artists and music (from around the world) Ive ever heard--much of which Ive NEVER heard of before!

Although I do feel sorry for the artists losing some money due to the cheap downloads, I think its time for all of todays musicians to realize that music is ripped and shared for *free* a few billion times per month worldwide! I think its also time that, with all-due respect to the musicians, if musicians care about making lots of money--especially those who are greedy, they should consider at least finding other jobs as well *in addition* to their music career. Look at some of the acting careers many musicians have, for example!

After all, this IS a changing world and, as for most other non-musicians these days, people are changing careers more and more often. Considering that, if I was a musician and/or someone that produced material that can easily be freely distributed and copied all over the world, I would consider holding at least one second profession in addition to music.

Bottom line is this. Is it better to have a site like AllOfMP3.com continue running so that there is *some* money being made, OR take the site down and risk all of its former users getting into the habit of file sharing--thus increasing the amount of file sharing worldwide substantially?

Posted by VikingByNature (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All russian alternatives to allofmp3
mp3sparks is analog of allofmp3, it has the same owner.
if for you allofmp3 is great than you can use it! But i know more russian mp3 stores than cheaper allofmp3 - check my hub <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://hubpages.com/hub/russianmp3site.." target="_newWindow">http://hubpages.com/hub/russianmp3site..</a>.
Posted by velichk (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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