Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

AllofMP3 Set to Resume Operations

The owners of AllofMP3.com have announced plans to reopen the web site, barely two months after they were forced to close amid allegations they were running an illegal online music store.

"The service will be resumed in the foreseeable future," said a statement on the web site Tuesday, which was inexplicably dated Aug. 31.

"We are doing our best at the moment to ensure that all our users can use their accounts ... and order music."

The site was shut shortly before a July 1 meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in Maine. The timing indicated that the Kremlin was nervous about a U.S. threat to block Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization over its poor protection of intellectual property rights.

However, a Moscow court this month acquitted AllofMP3.com's former director Denis Kvasov of violating intellectual property laws.

MediaServices, the company that runs AllofMP3.com, said in a statement on the web site that the court ruling showed that AllofMP3.com had not broken the law.

Igor Pozhitkov, the plaintiff in the lawsuit and director of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in Russia and the CIS, said the web site's claim was wrong.

"The court's decision was not about the activities of AllofMP3 but about the criminal activities of its director, Denis Kvasov," Pozhitkov said.

"It is erroneous for anyone to interpret the court decision as allowing MediaServices to resume its activities."

Pozhitkov said he had filed an appeal in the Kvasov case and that all parties had to observe the status quo pending the next ruling.

Repeated calls to current MediaServices director Vadim Mamotin went unanswered Tuesday.

The absence of a court decision banning the web site has created a legal vacuum that is being exploited by AllofMP3.com, a lawyer said.

"Since the owners ... obtained a favorable decision, and there is yet no verdict forcing them to close the site, they can [operate]," said Yevgeny Ariyevich, an international partner at Baker & McKenzie specializing in intellectual property law.

Ariyevich said, however, that since both the plaintiff and prosecutors had filed an appeal, "it may be too premature for the company to make the site operative again."

A court decision is needed to put an end to the AllofMP3 saga, Ariyevich said. "A more straightforward way to do it is to file and win a civil action against the company, forcing it to close the resource," he said.

Pozhitkov countered that law enforcement officials should close the site and that there was no need under Russian law to file a civil case for that to happen.

A spokeswoman for Maxim Medvedkov, Russia's chief negotiator for WTO accession, agreed, saying it was the duty of prosecutors and the Interior Ministry to clamp down on illegal web sites.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman was unavailable for comment due to all all-day engagement with a visiting U.S. congressional delegation.

A duty officer at the Interior Ministry's computer crimes division, which began investigating AllofMP3.com in 2005, declined to comment.

Allofmp3.com, created in 2000, is thought to have earned $10 million to $14 million per year from Russian buyers alone before its closure.