UK police have arrested an employee of dodgy Russian music site Allofmp3.com . The man was allegedly selling vouchers over the internet which gave people access to Allofmp3's database of MP3 music files.
Earlier in the year, credit card companies including MasterCard , Visa and also PayPal blocked all payments to the site. Allofmp3.com charges tiny amounts to download entire albums, and gives no money back to the music industry.
The arrested man, 25, is apparently the UK agent of Allofmp3.com. He was helping the site circumvent the credit card ban by selling vouchers on Ebay among other sites.
He was charging £10 per voucher and feeding the money back into offshore bank accounts owned by Allofmp3's Russian owners.
Copyright laws flouted
Allofmp3 has long been an annoyance to the music industry, offering high quality MP3s for just 6p per track. This compares with the 79p that rivals such as iTunes typically charge. Brand new albums can be obtained for as little as £1.30, compared with the £10 typically charged by legal retailers.
The site is able to charge so little because it pays no royalties to any of the record labels that own the recordings, meaning it can make a profit on albums no matter how much it charges. In doing so, it's breaking just about every single copyright law in existence.
Many analysts say the website is Russia's biggest single barrier to becoming part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Russia currently produces about 390 million pirated CDs and DVDs a year, providing the rest of the world with a huge volume of bootleg music and films.
John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), commented "Allofmp3.com is illegal in Russia, the US, the UK and everywhere else in the world.
"The action announced today is the latest to highlight Allofmp3.com's long and undistinguished history of stealing music from artists, composers and record producers and selling it at a profit."