The row over DRM affects millions of users everyday but not those of infamous Russian download site AllOfMP3.com – until now... briefly.
The cult site has finally shut down only to resurface immediately as 'mp3sparks.com' – a site with a virtually identical layout, identical artist catalogue and same crazy $1.86 price for each DRM free album. At this stage it is unclear whether the closure of allofmp3.com was a voluntary or forced decision, but either way the owners were clearly prepared.
Russian law is also (perhaps predictably) rather loose on the subject of copyright since it only requires a distributor to pay 15 per cent of its collection fees to ROMS to be legal – something that has record industries around the world fuming. In fact US music publishers late last year tried to sue AllOfMP3.com for an incredible $1.65 trillion but, being Russia based, the site laughed it off.
Interestingly MP3Sparks has made the effort to at least state why it is legal here and now takes payment using credit cards after Visa, MasterCard and even PayPal pulled their services.
How long will mp3sparks last? I'd suspect a good while longer than the record industry hopes or indeed believes it will. In its own country the site breaks no laws so surely responsibility lies more with Russia, its legal system and its international relations than it does with a site that simply exploits them...
After all, I don't hate brewers for the fact the UK government vastly taxes their produce – I accept it as part of parcel of living in the UK and I continue to love my Stella, Becks, Brahma, Kronenbourg, Carlsberg, Carling, Grolsch and Budvar... perhaps a little more than I should.