Visa halts its service for

Beleaguered music download site says it will stop discounting songs and give them away, says newspaper report.

Credit card company Visa International said Wednesday that it has suspended service to music download site, the latest setback for the Russian company accused in the U.S. of pirating music.

"It's no longer permitted to accept Visa cards," said Simon Barker, a Visa International spokesman. "The action we've taken is in line with legislation passed in Russia and international copyright law."

The news comes as to counter claims by the U.S. government that the site is an outlaw operation. On Tuesday, announced plans to give away hundreds of thousands of albums for free, according to a story in the International Herald Tribune.

U.S. trade representatives say is profiting from unauthorized music sales. Executives of say that the company carefully adheres to copyright law in Russia. That doesn't satisfy U.S. music labels' concerns about copyright infringement, however.

Like music download sites that came before it, such as Napster and Kazaa, offers unlicensed music for deeply discounted prices.

After years of court battles, Napster and Kazaa now cooperate with record companies. Other sites around the globe, such as Spain-based, have succumbed to legal pressure and shut their doors.

The U.S. has indicated that by allowing to continue operating, Russia could be jeopardizing its bid to join the World Trade Organization.

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