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Welcome Breaks Silence
June 6, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
Font Bigger Font Smaller The very name conjures up either great respect or distain. Copyright holders continue to pressure the Russian government to obliterate this music service; while consumers enjoy high quality music at a cut rate price. has managed a extraordinary level of popularity because many feel it represents what an online music service should be. The music service contains no DRM (Digital Rights Management), allowing the consumer to copy and transfer the purchased track to whatever device he or she wishes while compensating artists.

In addition,'s selection of file formats rivals, if not exceeds, that of many P2P networks. Most tracks are available in a variety of formats, including MP3, OGG, FLAC, WMA, and AAC.

Above all, the price of has allowed this service to rival the popularity of iTunes, and exceed that of Napster in the United Kingdom. Unlike most authorized download services which charge a flat rate of 99 cents per file, charges by volume. Each megabyte costs 2 cents, therefore the greater the quality the greater the price. For example, a 320 kbps bitrate MP3 from may end up costing the customer a whopping 8 cents while a 128 kbps may be as little as 4 cents.

The entertainment industry however claims the service is flat out illegal. According to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), fails to pay artist royalties - contrary to's assertions. In their press release titled "Setting the Record Straight", the IFPI claims,

" is not a legal service either in Russia or anywhere else. It is distributing music without any permission from the artists or copyright holders. Unlike all the legitimate sites, it does not pay artists or copyright holders so it is effectively stealing from those who create music. Like most things that appear to be too good to be true, is not what it seems."

Two separate Russian investigations into MediaServices (the company that owns are currently underway. One investigation is probing the former owner of MediaServices, while a new investigation examines the current owner. The previous investigation met with failure when the Russian government was unable to find any grounds for prosecution.

The Russian government has recently felt the pressure from Washington to act however, as the United States Trade Represetative's office has specifically cited as a "pirate website." It's speculated that Russia's admittance to the WTO (World Trade Organization) hinges on tough copyright enforcement against both physical and digital piracy; including has been quiet on the issue, refusing to answer media inquiries from virtually every source. This policy has changed, as has decided, from its point of view, to set the record straight. Of particular note is point number 5, which implies the music service might be negotiating a settlement and a change in price structure.


The US government officials and politicians have been demanding lately that the Russian authorities shut down, alleging the site is pirate. Otherwise, they threaten Russia with sanctions, including blocking its entry to WTO.

In this regard we would like to make a statement:

1. The site belongs to a Russian company and for 6 years it has operated within the country, in full compliance with all Russian laws. Throughout this period the various government offices have scrutinized site's legality and have not found any breach of the law. So far there has been no decision by any Russian court contesting the site's legality.

2. The Russian site is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of other countries.

3. The site does regularly transfer substantial amounts of royalties to the Russian organizations for collective management of rights such as ROMS and FAIR, which have granted the site licenses to legally deliver music through the Internet.

4. The site reserves the right to take all steps necessary to protect its business reputation. We call upon everyone to take a thorough and unbiased view of the site's legality.

5. On September 1, 2006 the changes to the Russian copyright legislation will come into force. Since January 2006 the site has been making direct agreements with rightholders and authors at the same time increasing the price of the music compositions and transferring the royalties directly to the artists and record companies. The aim of is to agree with all rightholders on the prices and royalties amounts by September 1, 2006.

6. We believe in the long term and civilized business based on respecting the law, considering the customers' demands as well as the interests of both national and international rightholders.

The Administration
June 6, 2006 Moscow

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