AllOfMP3.com has finally been shut down by the Russian authorities, just in time for the Bush / Putin bilateral talks, helping ease entry to the WTO. However an alternative site Mp3Sparks.com has been set up by AllOfMp3.com’s owners, with similarly ‘creative’ interpretation of copyright laws. AllOfMp3.com was reported to have over 5 million subscribers and sold tracks for 10 to 20 cents, with just 15 percent of that going to ‘rights holders’. However western labels said that the body that issued AllOfMP3.com’s license – MediaServices – had no right to license their content.
The fact that closing down AllOfMp3.com simply resulted in the opening of a copy cat site by the same company shows that this requires some more fundamental action by the Russian authorities. However, it could also be interpreted as cosmetic action by a government that is intent on satisfying WTO accession requirements but less keen on changing Russian new media copyright practices.