Feeds

'Practical' problems could stymie AllofMP3.com lawsuit

BPI could win case without stopping the music

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The British music industry is planning to sue Russian download site AllofMP3.com in the UK courts – but according to a solicitor advocate, while the law is on its side, practical problems with enforcement could limit the impact of any judgment.

The intention to sue was announced yesterday.

Giving oral evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport yesterday as part of an inquiry into new media and the creative industries, BPI General Counsel Roz Groome was asked about the hugely-popular site which sells new albums by popular artists for as little as £1 each.

"AllofMP3.com is illegal under UK law and it is illegal to download from it," she said. "AllofMP3.com's claims to be legal are false...Neither artists nor record companies receive any payment from the site."

Users of the site in the UK infringe copyright because they are downloading music that is sold without a licence. But the BPI said it is not targeting the users.

Groome said: "We are going to sue AllofMP3.com in the UK courts – we are going to seek a judgment not against the users of the site, but against the site itself."

In a statement provided to OUT-LAW last night, "the AllofMP3.com administration" said the site operates "in full compliance with all Russian laws". It pointed out that there has been no decision by any Russian court contesting the site's legality.

It added: "The Russian site AllofMP3.com is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of any other countries."

However, John MacKenzie, a solicitor advocate with Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said this point is inaccurate. "The site is provided in English as well as Russian. New customers have to pick their country from a list. So a court in the UK would have no difficulty in finding that it is targeting UK consumers."

He explained that the question is not where the business is located but where the legal wrong is committed. "If there is a substantial wrong, the English courts will almost certainly step in," he said.

MacKenzie added: "The BPI's case looks solid. If you run an ecommerce site and want to avoid being subjected to the laws of another country, don't sell there. It's that simple."

Criminal proceedings against a former director of the site's parent company, MediaServices Inc, are underway in Russia. Moscow prosecutors are also investigating a current director, according to the IFPI.

There are likely to be substantial practical difficulties in enforcing any order against AllofMP3.com in Moscow. "The BPI might win an award for damages and an injunction – but may find that all its case achieves is to send a message to British consumers that the site is unlawful," he said. "It may not stop the site without assistance from Russian authorities."

See: AollofMP3.com's statement

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.