Music starts to fade on Russian download site AllofMP3.com

Users of the shutdown AllofMP3.com site can still download music if they have existing credit with the online music store

Although the controversial online music store AllofMP3.com was officially shutdown by the Russian Government this week for infringing copyright laws, customers from the site who have existing credit can still purchase songs through its downloadable windows desktop and smartphone client, allTunes.com.

According to the allTunes.com website, AllofMP3.com's six million existing accounts can still be accessed if users download the allTunes software client. Once downloaded, users can browse through its catalogue and download from the 778,861 available tracks.

A former AllofMP3.com user, who spoke to Computerworld on the condition of anonymity, purchased songs with his existing credit from the allTunes software client today and experienced no trouble doing so.

"The [allTunes.com] software allows you to browse their catalogue, do searches and make purchases. It's quicker than querying a website since it downloads the catalogue to your PC," he said. "I gave it a whirl already and it worked fine. The client downloaded, it grabbed the catalogue, I searched and grabbed a song."

In total, he said he has downloaded "a good dozen albums or so worth of music."

AllofMP3's six million users will no doubt be delighted they can use their leftover credit to purchase songs, but the site's longevity hangs in the balance. Just days after the Russian Government shut down AllofMP3.com, its sister site, MP3Sparks.com, suffered the same fate.

With song prices coming in at 2c per megabyte to download (around US$1-1.50 per album), the allTunes site offers much better value than the US$0.99 per song charge at Apple's iTunes. Unfortunately, the legal ramifications and copyright infringements are not so appealing.

Although an AllofMP3 executive claimed the site's practices were legal because it paid 15 percent of its song revenues to the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society (ROMS), recording artists have contended they never received any money from ROMS.

It appears allTunes.com takes the same approach as AllofMP3.com's revenue sharing model while still maintaining its services are above board.

"All materials in the Internet-Audit LLS projects are available for distribution via the Internet in accordance with license # LS-3М-P3М-06-13 of the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society. Under the license agreement, Internet-Audit LLS pays license fees for all materials subject to the Law of the Russian Federation "On Copyright and Related Rights," reads the site's Terms of Use.

AllofMP3.com was given its marching orders late last year after mounting pressure from the US, and when the promise of World Trade Organization (WTO) membership was dangled in front of the Russian Government.

Russia responded by modifying its laws to crack down on music piracy. The changes, which only came into effect at the start of July, rendered the activities of AllofMP3 illegal.

After Russia formally outlawed the site, major credit card company, Visa, stopped processing payments.

Former AllofMP3 users can use existing credit from their personal accounts or add new funds using a Mastercard. However, customers wishing to inject additional funds into their account using a Visa card are presented with a message that reads: "Processing for this site disabled."

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