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Allofmp3 breaks its silence

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Music site AllofMP3.com has at last broken its silence and responded to US attacks on its business, while the BPI, the trade body for UK music labels, says it will sue the website in the UK courts.

US lobbyists for the major labels claim Russia's entry to the World Trade Organisation could be threatened unless the site is taken offline.

The statement points out that AllofMP3 is a Russian business and has operated for six years in full compliance with Russian laws. It makes royalty payments and is working to sort out new agreements with rightsholders before Russian copyright law changes on 1 September 2006.

The statement in full:

The US government officials and politicians have been demanding lately that the Russian authorities shut down AllofMP3.com, alleging the site is pirate. Otherwise, they threaten Russia with sanctions, including blocking its entry to WTO.

In this regard we would like to make a statement:

1. The site AllOfMP3.com belongs to a Russian company and for 6 years it has operated within the country, in full compliance with all Russian laws. Throughout this period the various government offices have scrutinized site's legality and have not found any breach of the law. So far there has been no decision by any Russian court contesting the site's legality.

2. The Russian site AllOfMP3.com is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of other countries.

3. The site AllOfMP3.com does regularly transfer substantial amounts of royalties to the Russian organizations for collective management of rights such as ROMS and FAIR, which have granted the site licenses to legally deliver music through the Internet.

4. The site AllofMP3.com reserves the right to take all steps necessary to protect its business reputation. We call upon everyone to take a thorough and unbiased view of the site's legality.

5. On September 1, 2006 the changes to the Russian copyright legislation will come into force. Since January 2006 the site has been making direct agreements with rightholders and authors at the same time increasing the price of the music compositions and transferring the royalties directly to the artists and record companies. The aim of AllofMP3.com is to agree with all rightholders on the prices and royalties amounts by September 1, 2006.

6. We believe in the long term and civilized business based on respecting the law, considering the customers' demands as well as the interests of both national and international rightholders.

Meanwhile, the BPI is to sue the site in the UK courts rather than go after its users. The BPI insists the site does not make any royalty payments.

The BPI says the site is illegal under UK law and it is illegal to download music from it. It is unclear what impact any decision made in a UK court would have on a Russian business. ®

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