The Russian government has finally bitten the bullet, decided it wants to be in the World Trade Organisation more than it wants to be seen as a haven of music piracy, and closed Allofmp3.com.
The site, Allofmp3.com, was quietly closed as the Kremlin sought to end criticism from the United States that Russia was failing to clamp down on music and video piracy.
However, an alternative site run by the same Moscow company has already emerged. MediaServices says that mp3Sparks.com is legal under Russian law, using many of the same arguments advanced in support of allofmp3.com.
Somehow, I don’t really see this phoenix-from-the-ashes tactic fooling anyone in the record industry…
Anyway, I had a few dollars tucked away on Allofmp3 for a rainy day (I know, foolish when you consider the ongoing uncertainty over its future) so took a quick trip over to see what has changed.
I was amused to see that mp3Sparks.com is an exact replica of allofmp3.com – same catalogue, same basic design, same user IDs, it’s even transferred across every single allofmp3 user’s account!
My account, sadly, wasn’t working properly when I visited, so I’m not quite sure that my money is still mine, but when I emailed the mp3Sparks.com to check whether my password was still valid, a reply came back within minutes, which is a fairly positive sign.
Update 4 July: In the comments ?????? has pointed out that mp3Sparks has gone the way of its older brother and is, itself, no more. I guess someone sent the heavies round.