ourTunes and Allofmp3.com: Change is Gonna Come

Despite the failed attempts last year to get Moscow prosecutors to shut down legally “grey” download site Allofmp3.com, the IFPI continue to attempt to exert pressure. Yesterday the BPI told the House of Commons select committee on culture media and sport that it was bringing an action against the website in the UK courts, but that it would not move against its users.

That pledge is good news for UK downloaders, who rely on the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 section 22 where it is implied that importing works for private and domestic use even without the licence of the copyright owner is not itself an infringement. I don’t think this has ever been tested in court and I’ve no idea whether, legally, downloading constitutes importing.

Anyway, yesterday, Allofmp3.com responded with a statement maintaining that the service is currently legal, but implying that things will have to change on 1st September 2006 when Russian copyright law changes. Staying inside the law may mean a reduction in the catalogue and an increase in prices.

All the same, the site, however legal, remains a trailblazer in how online music should be sold. Not in ease of use – iTunes beats it hands down there – but in empowering consumers by offering a range of encoding formats all without DRM to ensure the end user has full control of the music they have bought. And provided this remains the same, even if the prices go up, it will remain great value. It is after all just silly cheap at the moment… Still, it might be worth buying any music you want by August 31st…

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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