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US makes legal strike on

By Matt Whipp

Posted on 21 Dec 2006 at 13:28

The US music industry has launched legal action against Russian download site

The suit, filed in New York for Arista Records, Warner Bros, Capitol and UMG recordings, alleges the music service's owners Moscow-based Mediaservices sell songs without permission. says its operations are legal and that it pays royalties to a Russian collection agency called Roms which defends's actions, describing them as 'quite legitimate,' according to the BBC.

The US suit, however, claims the service is a 'massive infringement of plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act and New York law'.

The service has been under siege for some time now. Visa and Mastercard stopped processing transactions for and sister operation AllTunes in October - now only Diners and JCB cards are accepted.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is also taking legal action against the popular site, and has urged foreign secretary Margaret Beckett to raise the issue with the Russian government.

The service is already a thorn in the Russian government's side, as it has been used as a pawn in the process of Russia's membership of the World Trade Organisation. Under pressure from the US music industry, US Trade representatives have called for the site's closure as a necessary part of Russia's joining the WTO.

At the heart of the matter is that buying music through AllofMP3 is extraordinarily cheap - roughly one eighth of the price of iTunes, for example. What's more, the pricing structure is based on the size of the file, irrespective of the artist involved. So higher quality tracks are more expensive. Additionally, no DRM restrictions are applied to tracks bought through the service.

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