"AllofMP3.com maintains what it's doing is legal, under the terms of a licence granted to it by the Russian copyright licensing authorities. Essentially, it can transmit CD content without first gaining the authorisation of the copyright owner, provided it makes a nominal payment for the privilege, which it claims it does. It says its distribution of tracks across the Internet of digital audio files is equivalent to a broadcaster or a cable company transmitting songs as part of their programming.
Last month, the computer crime division of the Moscow City Police began an investigation into AllofMP3.com's activities after receiving a complaint from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The police referred the case to the Prosecutor's Office with the request that the Internet site be brought to book.
However, because the site is not involved in the physical distribution of unauthorised copies of the songs it offers, it can't be put on trial for breaking Russia's copyright law, the Prosecutor's Office said last week.
The IFPI has already admitted that AllofMP3.com is operating within a loophole in Russian law, and that a successful prosecution would be unlikely. "