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AllofMP3 Voucher Resellers Quit After Police Raid 137

Posted by Zonk
from the squash-enough-bugs-and-the-hive-dies dept.
Broohaha writes "Europeans who resell AllofMP3.com vouchers are quitting the business after a UK raid against one prominent reseller there. An Ars Technica article talks to several of them about their situations. 'Until a few days ago, I had never heard of the IFPI [the international music trade group],' said one reseller. 'But yes, I am concerned about them now. Although my attorney assures me that reselling gift certificates bought from AllOfMP3.com isn't breaking any laws, it isn't worth the possibility of engagement with their legal machine.' The music industry seems determined to choke off AllofMP3's funding, no matter how small the source."
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AllofMP3 Voucher Resellers Quit After Police Raid

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  • by BecomingLumberg (949374) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:12AM (#19237363)
    I guess the RIAA wins... I'll just have to go back to BitTorrent...
    • by NetDanzr (619387) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:33AM (#19237869)
      Actually, that's exactly what I was recommending to my friends to whom I previously recommended Allofmp3. I don't have the time and energy to keep troubleshooting their problems with music file formats from various legit stores that don't play on their mp3 players, and Allofmp3 was the only significant source of regular mp3 files that worked; now it's back to music piracy again...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        AllofMP3 was operating on dark grey margins of legality, so it's not as if you are just now starting piracy, you were pretty much supporting such an operation. They stretch the loophole a lot. The licensing clause they are operating under was one that allows for radio over cable TV networks as a broadcast mechanism, not for the sales of music tracks.
        • by NetDanzr (619387)
          I didn't say Allofmp3 was legal; in fact, I warned people I recommended the site to that they operated in a gray area. However, they were still willing to pay for songs that had a guaranteed quality, were easy to find and worked on their devices. Now that they can't use Allofmp3 anymore, they prefer to pirate songs - they are more difficult to find, don't have a guaranteed quality, but work on their devices. It appears that the market (at least the portion I'm involved with - eclectic mp3 players and too
          • There is at least one alternative [musicmp3.ru] to AllOfMP3.com.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by shark72 (702619)

            "I didn't say Allofmp3 was legal; in fact, I warned people I recommended the site to that they operated in a gray area. However, they were still willing to pay for songs that had a guaranteed quality, were easy to find and worked on their devices. Now that they can't use Allofmp3 anymore, they prefer to pirate songs - they are more difficult to find, don't have a guaranteed quality, but work on their devices."

            If your friends are willing to pay for pirated content, sounds like a good opportunity for you

            • by umghhh (965931)
              is not converting and reselling part of illegal activities that riaa and other copyright nazis are after?
              I wonder.

              This has nothing to do with justice or paying royalties. It is pure nonsense from technical point of view (does the purcased material work on all owned media?), it is abuse of consumers because they become criminals if they make backup copies and it does bring money to lawyers and organisations like riaa.
              The choice, justice, our rights and quality suffer in a process.
              Sad thing is: there is no es
            • by Mr2001 (90979)

              If you want to be more like allofmp3, you can have another friend set up his own rights clearance organization. It doesn't matter if he's recognized by BMI/ASCAP, etc. -- ROMS certainly isn't, so that's not the point.

              Actually, that is the point. ROMS doesn't need to be recognized by BMI/ASCAP because it's in Russia, and so is AllOfMP3.

              If you tried to set up your own American AllOfMP3, then you'd have to follow US law... which is why people recommend AllOfMP3 over some US equivalent.

      • by gsslay (807818)
        now it's back to music piracy again...


        AllOfMP3 was piracy, you were just paying for it. Just because it dressed itself up in a professional website and pretended to be something else doesn't change that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by davester666 (731373)

          AllOfMP3 was piracy, you were just paying for it. Just because it dressed itself up in a professional website and pretended to be something else doesn't change that.

          It's my understanding that AllOfMP3 is legally operating within Russia, that the various music associations have tried to get it shut down within Russia but have been unable to because it has been following the law, as it is written in Russia. It may or may not violate copyright and/or other laws for an individual to download from their site

          • by gsslay (807818)
            Also, it's my understanding that the major labels could be receiving their portion of money that AllOfMP3 collects by participating in Russia's licensing system.

            Indeed. And what kind of an arrangement would that be? It would be an arrangement where AllOfMP3 decided (themselves) that they are operating within a loophole in Russian law (defined by themselves) that says they pay a royalty rate that they decided (themselves). And all the labels need to do is fall into line and take the money that AllOfMP3

        • by jZnat (793348)
          Outside of Russia, sure, it was infringing copyright, but within Russia, they were perfectly within the law, "grey area" or not.
      • Actually, it's easier to simply find an Allofmp3 clone. There are plenty of those these days. One example would be mp3sugar.com [mp3sugar.com].
    • Everyone is missing one major point here - Nobody gets any money from AllofMP3. They keep 100% of the revenue. The labels and publishers do not get a single penny from them. In turn, the poor musicians and publishers get nothing back for the song they made. The IFPI, RIAA or BPI for example should win here, as the poor person, whether they are very good or dismally bad will not get money for their work.

      Check out http://www.pro-music.org/ , it lists all legal places to buy digital music on the web. It's
      • by jamar0303 (896820)
        I use MP3 (and sometimes OGG) because it's all my music player supports. I pirate because I can't find music in a format usable on my MP3 player (I live in *China*, I bought a no-name player that doesn't support any kind of DRM because it was cheap and I'm not buying another player just to support a store's DRM). My cellphone is a different story (it supports SD-Audio DRM and I'm fully willing to buy from the store that uses it) but this time the opposition's on their end (IP check at purchase time blocks m
    • by ozbird (127571)
      Only if you let them...

      Personally, I prefer to cut out these parasitic middlemen and deal with my bands directly - either with their own web shop, or their nominated seller. Fortunately my favourite bands are fiercely independent, so buying direct is the norm rather than the exception.
    • Funny, I thought pirates were the ones that raided. So the RIAA should go after themselves?/0
  • actionable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:13AM (#19237407) Journal
    Okay, first, IANAL. But I know that in the US, harassment of a company's business partners can be considered actionable under RICO. Anyone know if AllOfMP3 may be able to bring a suit against IFPI?
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree they should stop harassing my drug dealer because it is killing his business.
    • by hackstraw (262471)
      Anyone know if AllOfMP3 may be able to bring a suit against IFPI?

      They already have in the country of Eurasia.

      Seriously, the world today is almost like the wild west where there really isn't any law except for those that think there is law and that they are in charge. IFPI. Who are those guys?

    • by jimicus (737525)
      I don't think it's quite as simple as that. All the business partners in question (along, I would imagine, with the agencies doing the enforcing) are in different countries to the one that Allofmp3.com is based in.

      It's broadly equivalent to me (in the UK) going after your business partners (in France) when your business is based in the States and doesn't have subsidiaries in either the UK or France. What are you going to do about it?
  • Although my attorney assures me that reselling gift certificates bought from AllOfMP3.com isn't breaking any laws, it isn't worth the possibility of engagement with their legal machine

    I would love to see how the astroturfers here spin this, go on.

    At this point doing things the RIAA doesn't like is basically necessary civil disobedience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      Civil disobedience also means going to jail and suffering the consequences of your actions.
    • At this point doing things the RIAA doesn't like is basically necessary civil disobedience.

      Yes, because the right to share somebody else's creations with friends and strangers is unalienable.

      Saharov [wikipedia.org] and Ghandi [wikipedia.org] would've been proud of your stand.

      • by EzInKy (115248)

        Yes, because the right to share somebody else's creations with friends and strangers is unalienable.


        Sharing information is as natural a human trait as walking and talking. It enables people to pass knowledge and culture from one generation to the next. Being that inalienable rights are pretty much defined as being those that are natural, sharing others creations could indeed be considered an inalienable right.

        • by mi (197448)

          Sharing information is as natural a human trait as walking and talking.

          Of course! What could possibly be wrong about this group [itv.com]'s actions? Too bad, they are going to prison for 4-8 years each over their little "civil disobedience". Truly, America has lost its way!

          It enables people to pass knowledge and culture from one generation to the next.

          And if the right to do so is infringed, the important works of the entertainers will be completely lost on the next generations. Just think — your son might n

          • by EzInKy (115248)

            Too bad, they are going to prison for 4-8 years each over their little "civil disobedience".


            And well they should as they were attempting to sell, not share.


            And if the right to do so is infringed, the important works of the entertainers will be completely lost on the next generations. Fortunately, hundreds of millions of CDs produced by the entertainers will make sure, anyone, who wants to, can preserve the cherished memories.


            Many out of print books and old films have already been lost due to lack of profit
            • by mi (197448)

              And well they should as they were attempting to sell, not share.

              There is no difference — had the tried to simply give the secret away to Pepsi, they would still be criminals, even if the sentence could've been less harsh. AllofMP3, BTW, is selling...

              Just as your family and friends freely passed their knowledge and culture to you, others will pass along theirs also. That has been the way information has been shared since the dawn of man and no law is going to change it.

              Yes, of course — we wou

              • by EzInKy (115248)

                Yes, of course -- we would trade books, tapes, or CDs. Humans weren't able to create digitally-perfect copies of anything until fairly recently -- less than a generation ago, yet you make it sound, like some "dawn-of-man" law of nature is being violated by these greedy *AA bastards.


                So your mother didn't teach you songs as a child, possibly ones her mother taught her? Your father didn't show you how to use a hammer, as his father showed him? People have been doing such things since the first ape climbed down
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:14AM (#19237423)

    since when has anybody in the UK called a solicitor or lawyer/barrister an "attorney"
    that word is used almost exclusivly by Americans, was this reseller an American in the UK or was the "quote" edited for a US audience

    smells like bullshit here in London
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:22AM (#19237605) Homepage Journal
      Mod parent up! UK people rarely use the term 'attorney'. They are 'solicitors' or 'barristers' or even (less often) 'lawyers.'

      The whole story seems like astroturfing designed to scare the bejesus out of the remaining resellers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        The whole story seems like astroturfing designed to scare the bejesus out of the remaining resellers.

        Whatever works. They don't care. It is clearly up the us to be more careful how we spend our money. To keep it our of their hands, don't buy their product. Lot's of talk about boycotts and stuff, but a closely related industry is making more money than they ever have (plugging journal). So I would see no reason why they should change their behavior. It still pays off quite well. Just like with spammers. It i

      • we call them leeches, parasites,...
    • by malkavian (9512)
      Note: The article referred to a seller in Europe. This does not necessarily mean the UK, just a reseller who may travel through the UK now and then, but is based in the EU (which covers a lot of ground).
      There are a goodly many English Teachers who teach American English, thus anyone who has learned to speak/write English after learning in that environment will refer to a legal representative as an Attorney, rather than a Solicitor.

      So, no, doesn't smell like Bullshit here in Bath/Bristol.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:15AM (#19237465) Homepage
    This quote has the essence of the biggest problem in the 20th century, boiled down to one simple sentence:

    Although my attorney assures me that reselling gift certificates bought from AllOfMP3.com isn't breaking any laws, it isn't worth the possibility of engagement with their legal machine.'
    I would paraphrase that to:

    Although what I am doing is legal, I dare not engage the legal system
    Which makes justice impossible. No justice, kiss freedom goodbye.
    • by haggisbrain (945030) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:28AM (#19237743)

      Which makes justice impossible.

      Almost there.

      Which makes justice impossible. for those who aren't wealthy .

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by lilomar (1072448)

        Which makes justice impossible. for those who aren't wealthy.
        You keep using that word [reference.com]. I do not think it means what you think it means.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by rhizome (115711)
          You keep quoting that movie. I do not think it's as relevant as you think it is.

          Try using more words next time, and as a bonus feel free to make some of them your own!
    • by Threni (635302)
      It's a protection racket, pure and simple. No-one's breaking the law, but it upsets the guys with the money, and that's just not done "if you know what's good for you". It's not the exception - it's the norm.

    • by iminplaya (723125)
      No justice, kiss freedom goodbye.

      After being raped, that's the least I could ask for. But some flowers and a box of chocolates with a "thank you" note would be a nice touch. Maybe even a phone number?
  • sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:17AM (#19237505) Journal
    the selling of gift certificates isnt illegal but the use of them is frowned upon and thus anyone selling them is brought into the whole mess. The RIAA and company represent a group of interests that foolishly cut off any legal way to try out music or be locked in with DRM. that is why they lose cash, you cant screw people like that and expect to make MORE cash forever. if they were smart they would realize that they'd make more money by giving people the legal freedom to listen to music more freely than current and piracy would probably decrease as well- why pirate what is easy and cheap to begin with?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by edizzles (1029108)
      Is it me or is the whole DRM, RIAA, ect getting out of hand realy fast, there attacking people in other contries. I can only hope that over the next 20 years people will get fed up with this crap and just stoping buying mussic from anyone working with these crazy power drunk freedy ashats
      • by shark72 (702619)

        "Is it me or is the whole DRM, RIAA, ect getting out of hand realy fast, there attacking people in other contries."

        Huh? This article was about the IFPI; they're an international trade group operating in a whole bunch of countries.

        If this were about the RIAA (a US organization) causing a ruckus in the UK, then you're right -- it would be a little weird.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:18AM (#19237521) Homepage Journal
    To me, "The music industry" seems to have become the bane of civil and modern life. As if there exist no problems in the world, no wars, no poverty, no economic issues but fucking more-cash problems of the "music industry". makes one start to treat individuals involved in this "music industry" like lowlifes in everyday life.
    • To me, "The music industry" seems to have become the bane of civil and modern life. As if there exist no problems in the world, no wars, no poverty, no economic issues but fucking more-cash problems of the "music industry". makes one start to treat individuals involved in this "music industry" like lowlifes in everyday life.

      - emphasis mine

      "Makes one start to treat individuals involved in this 'music industry' like the lowlifes that they really are."

      There, that sounds better

    • by MooseTick (895855)
      "To me, "The music industry" seems to have become the bane of civil and modern life. As if there exist no problems in the world, no wars, no poverty, no economic issues but fucking more-cash problems of the "music industry". makes one start to treat individuals involved in this "music industry" like lowlifes in everyday life."

      As far as I can tell, if you don't download music you don't own or aren't getting from a highly questionable source then you won't have any problems. Maybe I missed it but has there be
      • by lilomar (1072448)
        The problem lies in your phrase "highly questionable". This selling is legal (my attorney assures me that reselling gift certificates bought from AllOfMP3.com isn't breaking any laws) but the corporations involved have deemed it "highly questionable". (it isn't worth the possibility of engagement with their legal machine.) And so justice is subverted.
      • by unity100 (970058)

        As far as I can tell, if you don't download music you don't own or aren't getting from a highly questionable source then you won't have any problems.


        hmmm.

        like having innovation, free speech and competitio not being stifled by insane laws that are passed through music industry funding ?

        like, "intellectual property" exploitation that walks in the verge of banning people from using certain words in daily speech ?
      • "As far as I can tell, if you don't download music you don't own or aren't getting from a highly questionable source then you won't have any problems. Maybe I missed it but has there been a rash of people being sued from using iTunes, the new version of Napster, or local CD stores?"
        Apparently you missed people getting sued by the RIAA who don't even own computers.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      To me, "The music industry" seems to have become the bane of civil and modern life.

      Really? Musicians, and the people they pay/hire/work with to handle the business end of what they do (so they can concentrate on making music) are the 'bane of civil and modern life?' But some company that wants to rip those musicians off by not paying for their work, and then turn around and sell what they've ripped off... you consider that to be... what? a good example of civility? If civilization is marked by its abilit
      • by SoulRider (148285)
        How come when the music industry talks about piracy they always talk about the starving artists? But when someone points out the totally unethical behaviour on the music industries part towards said artists and exposes the fact that the said music industry is more responsible for those starving artists than any consumer could ever be they get all tough and claim it is their property? Face it the music industry looks out for the artist in exactly the same way that someone buying mp3's off of allofmp3 does.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ScentCone (795499)
          There is no difference.

          There is an enormous difference. Follow a few successful artists' business careers. They work (in starving artist mode), and some of them produce something with enough critical and commercial draw that they make some real money. MANY of them form their own production and publishing companies specifically so that they can help out or promote other "starving" artists with contracts that are favorable to the artists. And guess what: many of those company-forming artists immediately se
          • by unity100 (970058)
            the picture you draw is a fairy tale. exists in an ideal world. artists are still starving. the publishing companies the artists "making through" found end up as acting like existing publishing companies. and no artist made publishing company can rival the big boys, who decide what the entire earth civilization will listen to/watch. this is wrong.
      • by unity100 (970058)
        yea.

        "ripped off" of the 1 million $ more that they would be making in addition to the $20 million they already did. or a one to 10 or a 2 to 40. very very unfair. its outright civil to create a police state and implement controls over all pcs and internet in order to give them their "right" share.
    • To me, "The music industry" seems to have become the bane of civil and modern life.

      Seen from an oblique angle, this pesky MAFIAA/IFPI outfit is perhaps doing democracy a service. How so? We all know that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. And those lobbyists are actually exposing a flaw in the democracies of most countries: a blatant lack of vigilance! The more they buy off civil liberties [*] away from the People, and the more draconian the laws become that they buy from those all too easily co

  • Nice to see that the Mafia's muscle has been replaced by lawyers.
  • ...so I'm not sure whether these people were potentially "guilty". See Fraud Act 2006 [opsi.gov.uk]. We need advice from a lawyer.
  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caseih (160668) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:40AM (#19238023)
    The RIAA is trying to stop allofmp3.com (operating under certain Russian copyright licensing laws) for doing the exact same thing that they are pushing to be allowed to do right here in the US. The RIAA wants to collect fees (sell if you will) for music played on radio stations (regular radio stations) regardless of whether or not the music is actually copyrighted by any of their members. This means that if a public radio station plays a few RIAA songs, but the majority are indie labels or any music not owned by the RIAA members, the RIAA gets a cut as if it was.

    One can certainly argue against the moral rightness of the way the Russian copyright licensing laws work, since no American artist will ever see any of the fees that the Russian copyright organization collects. But certainly the RIAA is clearly acting morally wrong as well.
    • by garcia (6573)
      But certainly the RIAA is clearly acting morally wrong as well.

      And you think that is somehow ironic? How ironic.
    • by Cyberax (705495)
      Actually, any artist can collect fees from Russian music collecting agency. And Russian collecting agency is also a non-profit organization.
      • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

        by shark72 (702619) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @04:04PM (#19243631)

        "Actually, any artist can collect fees from Russian music collecting agency. And Russian collecting agency is also a non-profit organization."

        Okay, pretend you're a moderately successful artist. You sold 1,000 copies of your album on iTunes last month for which you netted about $1K. You suspect that allofmp3 also sold about 1,000 copies of your album last month (you have no way of knowing... artists have asked allofmp3 to release sales data, but they refuse). They sold them for $0.60 each, to which the collecting society perhaps got about $0.06, of which you might see $0.04. So, somewhere out there, somebody has $40.00 for you.

        After finding ROMS' site and the English version thereof, you get to this page [www.roms.ru] before you hit a wall. If says that if you had "concluded an agreement" with ROMS (which you most likely have not), you are entitled to compensation, but ROMS does not tell you how you can go about this. You might note that by comparison, the corresponding page on ASCAP [ascap.com] is much more useful. This is because ASCAP is run by and for artists, and is looking out for your best interests. Unlike ROMS, they're not a front for a pirate site.

        At what point do you give up, and admit that the Russians effectively get to keep your $40?

        • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Informative)

          by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @06:18AM (#19250255)
          Yes, ROMS's English site sucks.

          I can read Russian, so I've read their contract: http://www.roms.ru/download/authors/1.doc [www.roms.ru] It says that you can collect fees retroactively.

          A typical CD costs about $5 in Russia (including licensed CDs from Western artists). Generally, CD contains about 10 songs, so it's 50 cents per song (notice, it's less expensive than AoMP3). One usually gets less than 10% from actual CD price, so artists in Russia can get more from ROMS than from actual CD sales.
  • by dexomn (147950)
    It is interesting that this cheesy gestapo has no office in the US. I went to the website to find a phone number, but I'm not paying international rates to tell someone off. =)
    • I just went to their website and found an office in the US

      IFPI Regional Office for Latin America
      10451 NW 117th Avenue
      Suite 105
      Miami
      Florida
      33178
      USA
      Tel: +1 305 567 0861
      Fax: +1 305 567 0871

  • Russian Law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:15PM (#19238801) Homepage Journal
    The central question is whether AllOfMP3.com is operating legally under Russian law. Or, given the totalitarian/anarchy that is modern Russia, whether a service that does what AllOfMP3.com does, operating as it does in Russia (and operating outside Russia only on the Internet), is at risk of takedown by Russian authorities (not including their mafias, but that's a basic risk of doing business in Russia).

    If AllOfMP3.com doesn't survive long enough to be tested in Russian court (and subsequently in Russian police offices), we might never know whether another bizmodel or just other outside-Russian operations could survive to be tweaked into a way that survives.
    • You make it sound like AllofMp3 is new, experimental operation. In fact, they've been selling music for years and years, with thousands (if not millions) of satisfied customers. Assuming they stay in business, it'll be up to companies outside of Russia to adjust their business models.

      And sure enough, I think EMI's decision to ditch DRM on iTunes is part of the new competitive environment we can thank AllofMP3 for.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        No, I don't make it sound like anything of the kind. I make it sound like Russia is a largely lawless country where AllOfMP3.com could perhaps operate, if its recent track record in the spotlight demonstrates that it can. Which is the upside of lawlessness: the bad laws are also absent or ineffective. In a nation not ruled by law, the only way to predict continuity of business is to guess from the actual tests of operation in the current conditions.

        So long as the laws that do work, including the laws of eco
  • by blhack (921171)
    Meanwhile, allofmp3's servers are painfully slow due to the huge influx of traffic from all of the publicity this is giving them.
  • Out with the old - and in the the new - http://www.mp3sugar.com [mp3sugar.com]
    Only downer with this is that all music is 256kbps
  • There are literally tens of other clone sites of allofmp3 out there spread across the countries of the former USSR. It will only take a post on Slashdot with a list of these for the symbolic value of RIAA v allofmp3 to be rendered meaningless. The genie is out of the bottle and cat is out of the bag....
    • by dangitman (862676)

      The genie is out of the bottle and cat is out of the bag....

      But is the cat out of the bottle? Is the genie out of the bag? Have you counted your ducks before they have hatched? Have the cows come home to roost? Are all the chickens lined up in a row? Have the gerbils

      been lubricated?

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