UK lawsuit proceeds against Russian MP3 site

The British music industry's trade group has been cleared to sue the controversial Russian music download site in London's High Court., which offers album downloads for as little as 1 pound ($1.85), is Britain's second-most popular online music service behind Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store, according to one survey. The Russian site claims to be in compliance with local copyright laws, but music labels say they have not given permission for AllofMP3 to sell their songs.

The High Court has given its approval to serve legal proceedings against AllofMP3 and its owner Media Services in Russia ahead of a UK court case, the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) said in a statement on Monday.

"The reason downloads are cheap is that neither the artists nor the record companies are being paid," said BPI General Counsel Roz Groome.

Earlier this year, U.S. lawmakers warned against signing a bilateral trade deal with Russia until Moscow moved to reduce intellectual property theft, including the shutdown of AllofMP3. Russian prosecutors are conducting their own investigation of the site.

The music industry has fought back against online piracy by promoting legal online music stores and cracking down on illicit file-sharing services and their users.

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