It appears the Russian government has agreed to shut down popular music site AllofMP3.com in order to appease US objections to it joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
However, the management of the site still insists it is legal.
The summary of negotiations from the US Trade Representative, dated 19 November, names AllofMP3.com as an illegal distributor of music. The letter outlines an agreement between the US and Russia on what it must do in order to join the WTO.
The summary says: "The United States and Russia agreed on the objective of shutting down websites that permit illegal distribution of music and other copyright works. The agreement names the Russia-based website allofmp3.com as an example of such a website.
"Russia will take enforcement actions against the operation of Russia-based websites, and investigate and prosecute companies that illegally distribute copyright works on the internet."
But Putin's government might have a fight on its hands.
Mediaservices, the parent company of AllofMP3 and Alltunes, put out two statements again insisting the services are completely legal. An FAQ on the site - available here - claims the service is legal under Russian law.
Another document explains why it is legal for US consumers to buy music from the site. The company also again offered to take down any material which rights holders want removed from the site.
Vadim Mamotin, director general at Mediaservices, said: "If the RIAA had done its homework, it would have discovered that even under US law consumers apparently have a legal basis to purchase music from AllofMP3. There is absolutely no legal basis for the campaign against AllofMP3."
The US' letter calls for legislation to stop such sites by 1 June 2007. "Amendments to the law to provide that collecting societies may act on behalf of rights holders that explicitly authorise such action; and provisions needed to implement the World Intellectual Property Organisation Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty."
The US also wants Russia to increase penalties for convicted pirates and to protect information relating to pharmaceutical tests.
The Russian government also promises to take action against CD and DVD pirating companies using military facilities to make their copies. The side letter says: "Ensure that facilities on the territory of government-controlled military-industrial sites are not leased or otherwise made available to companies producing optical media bearing content protected by copyright or related rights."
Allofmp3 is very much online at the time of writing. Site monitoring service Pingdom reveals the site has only had 18 minutes of downtime in the last week. More here. ®