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AllofMP3.com gets the first axe in a new war on piracy

This week the U.S. government announced a joint program with Russia in an effort to thwart piracy as well as protecting intellectual property (PDF). The new joint program calls to address what the U.S. terms IPR, or intellectual property rights, which is a big concern in Russia right now as well as other countries such as China and Taiwan.

The agreement between the U.S. and Russia will attempt to address critical issues, including but not limited to the following:
  • Fighting optical disc piracy
  • Fighting Internet piracy
  • Protecting pharmaceutical test data
  • Deterring piracy and counterfeiting through criminal penalties
  • Strengthening border enforcement against piracy and counterfeiting
  • Bringing Russia’s laws into compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and other international IPR standards; and
  • Continuing training and bilateral cooperation on IPR protection.
The official agreement noted that Russia has agreed to aid U.S. authorities in shutting down illegal websites such as those carrying bittorrent files or direct downloads of copyrighted music, movies and software. One of the main websites under target is AllofMP3.com -- a prime example of a website that connects users to copyrighted music free of royalties. Russia has agreed to take measures such as prosecution and lawful takedown of such websites and any organization that launches and maintains such websites. Currently the site is still online.

Illegal media distribution is also a big problem in Russia and in many parts of Asia. Walking in the streets of Shanghai, one can find many small shops that sell and rent movies that are all burned onto writable discs. Many people also sell movies and software privately on the streets. Most importantly, this seems to be a very common practice. Optical media manufacturers operating in Russia will also be under the microscope. Plants that produce illegal discs will face heavy fines and criminal charges. Individuals and groups involved in piracy activities will also face charges as criminals.

According to the pact "Russia has provided information showing that through September, Russian authorities continue their efforts on IPR enforcement, with raids at comparable levels to last year. We believe that Russia is committed to more aggressive actions before the end of the year."

By June of 2007, Russia will have fully implemented its new legistlation on software and Internet piracy. Music, movies and software will all be covered under law. The co-operation between the U.S. and Russia is so serious in fact, that a special hotline has been dedicated for up-to-date piracy communications between the two countries.


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allofmp3
By sprockkets on 11/29/2006 12:52:04 AM , Rating: 4
Goodbye, the only site competent to know about ogg, flac, and lame mp3 file types.

RIP




RE: allofmp3
By ksherman on 11/29/2006 1:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
except for two things...

First, there has been much contreversy over what AllofMp3 has been doing with its users email address (I myself, since registering and using the site, have recieved at least twice as many spam emails, all for porn, when I used to get none)

Second, while they do have significntly more options for how your songs are encoded, When compared to a CD, even the high bit rate at which I download the songs, the songs still sound like crap. I know that compressed audio will not sound as good as full uncompressed CDs, the difference is significant.

Maybe your results will/have varied, the loss of such a shady company will ultimately be good. I will miss however the nice, low prices and the DRM free music, but there are other ways.


RE: allofmp3
By shoRunner on 11/29/2006 1:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
they seem to be legal in russia...so i wonder how russia will go about shutting them down?


RE: allofmp3
By bersl2 on 11/29/2006 1:59:36 AM , Rating: 5
By making it illegal.


RE: allofmp3
By BladeVenom on 11/29/2006 9:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
The RIAA has no problems buying the vote of rich American politicians, it will be even cheaper buying poor Russian politicians.


RE: allofmp3
By Flunk on 11/29/2006 9:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who knows the RIAA only has juristiction over people in the US? They don't have any power in other countries you know. This article is about the US goverment cooperating with the Russian government.


RE: allofmp3
By dice1111 on 11/29/2006 9:55:52 AM , Rating: 4
And who has serious pull or control over the US government? Definatly not the RIAA... *sarcasm*


RE: allofmp3
By Some1ne on 11/29/2006 5:43:49 PM , Rating: 3
The RIAA doesn't have "jurisdiction" over any people anywhere. It is a private orginaztion, and has no direct power to enforce any sort of copyright laws on anyone. What it does do, however, is pay for the votes of politicians (people who *do* have a degree of jurisdiction over others), and its money works just as well in Russia as it does in the US (better even, due to the comparably poor economic climate over there).


RE: allofmp3
By Hoser McMoose on 11/29/2006 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
They are not legal in Russia, so shutting them down is simply a matter of enforcing the law. Up until Sept. of this year AllOfMp3.com was getting by using a loophole in Russian copyright law. The simple way to explain it is that they were pretending to be an internet radio station that charged you for the bandwidth to listen to their on-demand radio content. As such they weren't breaking the law because they were *NOT* selling the music, just letting you listen to the music they own.

However in September of this year, updates to Russian copyright law came into effect and closed this loophole. Since then AllOfMp3.com has been operating fully outside of Russian law, and therefore it has also been fully 100% illegal to "purchase" music from them.


RE: allofmp3
By quiksilv3r on 11/29/2006 2:50:26 AM , Rating: 5
Hey buddy...flac is a lossless format. As in..no quality loss.


RE: allofmp3
By Hoser McMoose on 11/29/2006 1:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
While FLAC is indeed a lossless format, my understanding of things is that there was loss in the way it was implemented by AllOfMp3.com. As I understand it they were ripping CDs and encoding them at high bit rate MP3 levels (320kbps or some such) and then transcoding them to whatever format you wish. As such a FLAC download was just a lossless compression of the lossy MP3, so the quality was already gone right from the get-go.

Now, had they being smart, they would have STARTED with FLAC and transcoded to other formats from there. In this situation the FLAC would truly have been a lossless format and they wouldn't have encountered double-lossy issues with transcoding to other formats. Of course, if they had been smart they wouldn't have been operating a business that blatantly violated Russian copyright law in the first place.


RE: allofmp3
By Christopher1 on 11/29/2006 3:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
You must have AWFUL sensitive ears, because I have listen to a MP3 ripped at variable bitrates from 120-192K, and there is no difference that I or my father (who is an audiophile) can see or hear, even when listening to a song off the CD and then listening to the compressed file.

People who say there is a difference..... are either having REALLY poor compression at very low bitrates, or are the human equivalent of bats and dogs, with superior hearing.


RE: allofmp3
By XtremeM3 on 11/29/2006 4:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
...Or play the music through a good sound system capable of playing everything that goes through it. Where you listen, and what you listen on can make a big difference.

Obviously the casual listener who listens to music at a mild volume on a set of pc speakers and the guy who blasts it out his home entertainment system are going to hear different things, and then there is everything inbetween there too.

Just a thought...

Jeff


RE: allofmp3
By Wonga on 11/29/2006 5:31:04 AM , Rating: 4
I've ripped MP3s at 128kb and then listened to the original CD. I can say, even with my £50 PC speakers, there is a noticable difference at moderate sound levels - perhaps not so much in the foreground, but certainly in the background of tracks.


RE: allofmp3
By Lazarus Dark on 11/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: allofmp3
By Blazin Trav on 11/29/2006 6:35:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well I use music through a soundcard outputted to a reciever and I can tell the difference.

Using stock speakers and lower quality components isn't going to work with higher quality rips that are above 128k, you're speakers aren't going to be able to handle it at higher volumes. This is why cheap speakers sound terrible when you turn your amp (computer, sound card, whatever) and your speakers all the way up.


RE: allofmp3
By yacoub on 11/29/2006 8:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
No, you (and your father) must be partially deaf. It's very easy to tell the difference between mp3s of quality lower than 192kbps against the original CD / lossless encoding, and often at 256kbps which oddly enough often sounds more lossy than 192kbps, but that could be due to the encoder used. On some music the difference can even be heard at 320kbps mp3s.


RE: allofmp3
By Xavian on 11/29/2006 5:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
FLAC is a lossless format, meaning there is no quality loss when the song is encoded into that format. So either you haven't even tried FLAC or your brain is making out quality differences that don't exist.

Since the latter is highly unlikely, i would ask you to do some research before you make such comments.


RE: allofmp3
By Wonga on 11/29/2006 5:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's because AllofMP3 re-encode music into FLAC from a lossy format? I'm just thinking out loud...


RE: allofmp3
By ksherman on 11/29/2006 8:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
This I dont doubt...

I never did try FLAC, as I am not sure that the iPod can play FLAC files.

I have always downloaded the music from them in 256Kbs bitrate. And when I say there is a noticible difference, I am not kidding around. On a track from the most recent album from Jars of Clay, in track 7, the music builds until the end of the song, and as it is building, te vocal begin to fizzle out a crack. This is not an issue with my speakers, but is infact in the MP3 file. I had thought for the longest time that it was in the song itself, some kind of little additive or something (not sure why, since it sounded like poop) but then I listened to the CD, HUGE difference.

Dont get me wrong though, I <3 MP3s. My issue is with the quality of the songs comming from AllOfMP3s


RE: allofmp3
By dice1111 on 11/29/2006 9:54:08 AM , Rating: 1
How do you get twice as many spam messages when you used to get none? Thats amazing!

You should seriously check out;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Prize_Prob...


RE: allofmp3
By Rogie on 11/29/2006 10:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
He probably meant twice the amount of spam overall, but now he gets porn spam too whereas he used to get 0 porn spam.


RE: allofmp3
By Some1ne on 11/29/2006 5:54:00 PM , Rating: 1
So let me get this straight, you willingly gave them your real e-mail address, and you feel entitled to complain when you get spammed as a result? Things like mailinator.com exist for a reason, and if you choose not to use them (especially when registering for websites and services known to be illegal), then any spam you recieve is your own fault.


RE: allofmp3
By dklayn on 11/29/2006 8:47:28 AM , Rating: 2
There are other sites that offer comprehensive file choices. Magnatune.com, for example, offers FLAC, Ogg, low-rate MP3, high-rate MP3, and AAC. The Philadelphia Orchestra's new online store also offers FLAC in addition to MP3. Heck, most of the new sites aimed at indie music distribution online offer FLAC -- all a Google search or two away. Many mainstream groups also offer recordings of live concerts in lossless formarts as well -- such as the stuff at etree.org and livemetallica.com.

About the only thing you won't find (besides on AllOfMP3) is recorded music owned by RIAA-member companies. Which is sorta the point. The RIAA would rather consider you a thief and require sites to offer only crappy MP3s (Yahoo!, Rhapsody, etc) or DRM-heavy junk (iTunes, etc) to keep you straight.

Expand your horizons beyond RIAA-owned music and you'll find plenty of great websites. You'll also feel better since your purchases will no longer be funding RIAA's warchest.


RE: allofmp3
By ajfink on 11/29/2006 10:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
It's the best place to buy music on the Internet. If only music companies would simply work out a deal with them, both could profit.


RE: allofmp3
By camped69 on 11/29/2006 10:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
They'll just move the servers to Sweden, big deal.


False description of AllofMP3.com
By ninjit on 11/29/2006 1:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
...One of the main websites under target is AllofMP3.com -- a prime example of a website that connects users to copyrighted music for free...


I've never used any of the russion mp3 sites myself, but I'm pretty certain that statement is flat out WRONG.

The problem in Russia was that transmission of mp3s over the internet could arguable fall under broadcast laws and licensing schemes, and so these websites payed only those costs to the Russian entitity responsible for collecting and distributing music fees.
So they were in essence "legal". However the US and European Record companies have been pushing to change the russian law on this.

The 2nd issue was whether it was legal for them to sell to people outside of russia, and consequently whether it's legal for us to buy from them - I'm not too clear on this part, but I think the arguments for against basically stem from whether I'm importing what I buy from them (because I visited a Russian website) or if they are exporting to me (because I'm still physically in the US when i make my purchase).

Everyone pretty much expected Russian law to eventually change and make these sites illegal (another example is mp3sugar.com), but AT NOT POINT DID THESE SITES EVERY OFFER MUSIC FOR FREE - you ALWAYS had to pay.

The attraction was it usually came out to be ~$1 per album or 0.10cents per song, and you could pick whatever file format you liked.




RE: False description of AllofMP3.com
By ninjit on 11/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: False description of AllofMP3.com
By Blazin Trav on 11/29/2006 6:38:17 AM , Rating: 4
Free of royalities . Reading comprehension much?


By BladeVenom on 11/29/2006 9:08:07 AM , Rating: 3
AllofMP3 says they pay all appropriate royalties. Which according to their site Russian law makes the royalties for sending out music over the internet, the same as the royalties for sending out music over the airwaves.


RE: False description of AllofMP3.com
By ninjit on 11/29/2006 1:43:27 PM , Rating: 1
You're an idiot.

That quote was copied and pasted from the actual text.

DailyTech CHANGED it after I posted my concern.

They've done it plenty of times before.


By Hoser McMoose on 11/29/2006 1:50:06 PM , Rating: 3
Actually the original statement was correct, they WERE offering you the *music* for free, it was the bandwidth to download the music that you were paying for. They were never actually selling music at all, so obviously they couldn't charge you for something that you weren't buying. This is a direct extension to what you mentioned, where they were not a music retailer but rather a music broadcasting station.

As for the Russian laws, they were changed a little while back and the changes came into effect Sept. 1 of this year.


Kaboom!
By DigitalFreak on 11/29/2006 8:20:50 AM , Rating: 3
I wish there were some way to utterly destroy, both physically and financially, the companies that back the RIAA and MPAA. Let artists and film makers deal directly with the public.




RE: Kaboom!
By MPE on 11/29/2006 9:45:47 AM , Rating: 2
Because it is not to their advantage. The purpose of record companies is that they have the resources and insight to distribute/reach a much wider audience than an individual can. Its like how can Madonna reach club goers in Europe? How can she collect royalties if she does? How does she collect royalties to thousands of people around the world?

Point is, unless you want to go to NYC to listen to Jay-Z, Ireland for U2, Mexico for Cafe Tecuba and etc. it aint gonna happen. Record companies are part of the modern global economy.



RE: Kaboom!
By alcalde on 11/29/2006 12:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Those royalties are coming from CD sales primarily.

"The purpose of record companies is that they have the resources and insight to distribute/reach a much wider audience than an individual can"

It no longer needs to be that way in the Modern Era. Your same argument could be made about game distribution, except Valve threw the old model out with Steam and direct sales. If artists were to band together and set up a NON-PROFIT distribution corporation/label, it would be great for everyone. Eventually albums would be sold through retail, but there would be the ability to download music and order CDs online. The new setup would deduct the amount necessary to maintain operations, then pass ALL profit on to the actual artists. Artists could receive much more than they currently do, and STILL lower costs for consumers. Even Stephen King dabbled in a direct book sale (chapter by chapter) to the public. This is the way of the future; it's just a question of how long before we get there.


RE: Kaboom!
By MPE on 11/29/2006 2:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
But you are using Valve - a large company with hundreds of employees, resources to dictate distribution, has a legal department, advertising money, etc.

Can your typical musician have that? Hell even multi-million selling artist would be hard pressed to create their own distribution/promotion system outside of creating their own record companies.

Even then artist who are able to create a record label often found much more limited success and/or use larger record companies (parent) for assistance.

Point is, once you want a world wide distribution you would need a larger more coordinated system than 1 artist and his/her manager to control it.

If record label free U2 said that AllofMP3 was illegal what recourse can they take? If anything they can band with other indie artist. But at that time - what is the difference between them and MPAA/RIAA?

Nothing.

The non-distribution would not work. That is not capitalism works. No one wants to work for a fixed price with no potential for growth?
With no profit means no growth. All growth, in fact all profit potential, would be on the artist themselves. It is too risky for non artist to participate in that kind of economic model.

Distribution is partially at fault, but it is largely to the complex and archaic notion of copyrights is the problem.

BTW - you know if the distribution is given to the artist you will likely see a more tightened control of their work - not looser.


RE: Kaboom!
By kerpwnt on 11/29/2006 5:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. As evil as they may be, Middlemen are a necessary evil. They handle the man-hours that are required to distribute goods to the people. They also handle advertising and such, which may not be as important with the huge hit of “social” oriented web services. Viral marketing makes great advertising, but it does not get your product to the people.

More importantly, though, is the free market. When consumers use services like allofmp3.com, they are telling these middlemen (record labels) that their prices are not quite harmonized with the products. If record labels would pull their heads out of that dark place between their legs, they might see that they could recover some of their market share.

People that use allofmp3.com are obviously willing to pay for their music. Recording labels now need to re-evaluate their prices and make an online music store with reasonable quality, reasonably priced music. Is $0.50 for a >192kbps mp3 so much to ask?

Regardless of what the recoding industry says; we all know the music industry could afford a few price cuts. Who are you going to believe, me (the consumer), or the guy that looks like he ate a jewelry store?


MP3
By gramboh on 11/29/2006 1:48:25 AM , Rating: 3
I'll be sad if Russia bends and changes laws to prosecute sites like Allofmp3 due to pressure from America. It would be nice if there was more balance in trade globally so the U.S. didn't have enough bargaining power, in fact it would be awesome.




RE: MP3
By Blazin Trav on 11/29/2006 6:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
Why would that be awesome, so musicians can make no money off of their CDs and hard work?


RE: MP3
By DigitalFreak on 11/29/2006 8:16:01 AM , Rating: 1
Because it's yet another example of the US throwing it's corporate backed weight around to force other countries to comply with IT'S wishes and laws.


RE: MP3
By gramboh on 11/29/2006 11:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'd prefer to see artists make more and record company/producer/distributer (aka useless middleman) make less. Direct distribution would be nice. And yes, my point is to agree with that above me, it's annoying to see influence of the US in other areas in ideology.


RE: MP3
By jtesoro on 11/29/2006 1:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Here's some food for thought which I'm sure most people here will not agree with. :) I read a report that a consultant from my previous company wrote, and he suggested that in the music industry, the entity which creates the most value is what you call the "middleman" (sorry, I can't distinguish very well between the record company/producer/distributor).

As I remember, the meat of the argument was that the artist, while being the creator of the content, has little influence on the song making any money. And the middleman, rather than being useless, is actually the party who has the most impact. He is the one who decides what music gets released to the market, where and how to promote it, etc. To illustrate:

Bad song, bad or no middleman -> no chance to make money
Great song, bad or no middleman -> little chance to make money
Bad song, great middleman -> better chance to make money
Great song, great middleman -> best chance to make money

The middleman then is the difference between a successful record or not, regardless of whether the song itself is good or bad. Notice the money-making power of heavily promoted "crappy" songs, and how much good stuff languishes in indie sites.

Add to that the reality that the middleman is the one who fronts the money and takes all the risks, then it kinda makes sense that they get most of the money.

So there. A controversial point, but I think there's some truth to it.


Good to know the U.S.'s priorities....
By Chadder007 on 11/29/2006 9:04:01 AM , Rating: 2
Its good to know the U.S. cares so much about the RIAA and MPAA's wellfare and piracy in Russia while ignoring frivolous issues in Russia such as the selling of rockets and nuclear material to other countries.




RE: Good to know the U.S.'s priorities....
By Wwhat on 11/29/2006 12:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
Who doesn't?


By Chadder007 on 11/29/2006 1:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
Its all about the money man....


Mark my Words
By ksherman on 11/29/2006 8:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
I bet that within a year, Russia will be ushered into the WTO as a result of this




Good luck with that Russia...
By edge929 on 11/29/2006 9:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
For every site/server/location they shut down, 2 more will pop up. If it's digital (read: on the net), expect it to be cracked/copied/distributed for the masses.




*cries*
By Draco on 11/29/2006 10:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
It's a disappointing time, but I guess it was inevitable. To be honest Allofmp3.com died to me when Visa stopped processing transactions for them. Although I suppose I could go through that other escrow service, but the Visa thing was a major blow. I thought their encoding flavors and selection were very attractive.

Another site, which has some good encoding options is beatport.com, that is if you're into electronica (like I am) and can swallow the $2 price tag individual tracks.




I don't see why russia would want to.
By Wwhat on 11/29/2006 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
Since most of the email spam now originates from russian mobs how come there's no agreement to fuck up those bastards? that would reduce cost for every ISP and would please every person on the planet.
Instead we get 'protecting pharmaceutical crap' so people can't get medication for normal prices but instead either die or end up homeless.
YAY for the american 'independant' WTO





Who gives a shit?
By zhopa on 11/29/2006 1:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
In Russia it's all about Kruisha ("The Roof"). If you have a good roof and pay for its maintenance than nothing will happen to you. If your Kruisha is leaky then, as the russians would say "when it rains, you're going to get wet".
If the business has good Kruisha they have nothing to worry about and a RIAA or WTO is not going to change that.

If you have leaky Kruisha, you're a deadman... haven't you seen the news from London recently?

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Me robot... phone home... fuck you!




The real danger
By kerpwnt on 11/29/2006 4:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
It is good to know that our government has it's priorities straight, regarding Russian cyber-mischief. Allofmp3.com is obviously the greatest threat to the American economy. Why go after the phishers and malware authors that prey on our population, when you can feed the bellies of archaic music companies? I ‘m sure I will be thought of as just another whack-job liberal, but I feel Russia houses a far more dangerous enemy to the American dollar.

Phishing scams, and similar chicanery, have a huge base in Russia. The people running these have been taking money straight from our population for years now. Maybe these scams don’t yield as much money as allofmp3.com. Maybe they won’t make the next Lil Jon have to consider a carat or two less when he lines his pool with diamonds. But they do compromise our computers’ security, and in this “age of terror,” security is precious. It is obvious that the real danger lies in overseas competition.

There’s my rant. Feel free to make my post turn red and collapsed.
Thanks for your lending your eyes.




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