Thursday, August 16, 2007

Former Head of Acquitted

The head of former Russian music download Website was acquitted of charges filed against him by several music companies that claimed the site was selling their music without consent.

Other sources report that, in addition to offering tracks without permission from the music labels, allofmp3 was also undercutting the pricing of other “legitimate” services. Apparently a “legal loophole” led to Denis Kvasov’s acquittal. This loophole has since been revised, albeit after Kvasov’s tenure with the company, thus leaving the Website’s former head foot loose and fancy free.

The current head of allofmp3’s parent company, Mediaservices, says that the site did in fact pay royalties to a Russian licensing group for the digital tracks it sold. However, the record companies in question say that the licensing group itself does not have permission to distribute their tracks, nor collect royalties on them.

In this case, should allofmp3 be penalized, or the Russian licensing group? If allofmp3 claims ignorance to the licensing group’s alleged unauthorized practices, then can it really be blamed? There are currently two additional cases pending against allofmp3.

It appears that Russia has a bad rap for piracy in general. In February, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) pegged Russia and China as its main concerns in relation to piracy.

“While there have been developments in both these key markets over the year, the bottom line is that piracy levels have not come down at all or only marginally, and some problems have grown worse,” noted Eric H. Smith of IIPA at that time.

The IIPA says that piracy rates for some sectors in Russia are estimated at over 70 per cent. Before you drop your jaw in shock, keep in mind that the IIPA also has its eye on Canada, having labeled our home and native land a growing piracy concern.

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