Sunday, July 02, 2006


In what could prove to be a risky move, the BPI has applied - and won - permission to bring action against Russian cheapo download site AllofMP3 in the British courts.

The BPI is confident of victory:

BPI's general counsel, Roz Groome, said: 'This is an important step forward in our battle against We have maintained all along that this site is illegal and that the operator of the site is breaking UK law by making sound recordings available to UK-based customers without the permission of the copyright owners. Now we will have the opportunity to demonstrate in the UK courts the illegality of this site.'

On the other hand, of course, AllofMP3 might have an opportunity to demonstrate that people in the UK have the right to buy products wherever they choose, providing those items are sold in line with tha market's laws.

The BPI could have chosen to sue in the Russian courts - after all, it's going to struggle even if it wins in London to make sure the judgement sticks. That it isn't suggests it doesn't have as much confidence in proving to a Russian court that the site breaches Russian copyright laws than it claims to; simpler, by far, to concentrate on the more arcane question of if a Russian company sells to British market whether it should do so under Russian or UK law. Especially as it's possible the Russian company might choose not to bother launching an expensive defence case in front of the British court and allow the British judges to issue what would ammount to a pyrrhic victory for the BPI.

The music industry hopes that the major economies will insist that Russia tightens its copyright laws as part of the deal to allow the nation to join the WTO. Let's just ponder that for a moment: with the Russians buying up energy distribution companies around the globe, and much else besides, and controlling enormous reserves of energy reserves that developing Chinese and Indian industries would be just as happy to consume as American and European companies, does the RIAA really think that the rights to a few Englebert Humperdink recordings are going to prove a stumbling point?


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