Visa halts its service for allofmp3.com

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

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
Credit card company Visa International said Wednesday that it has suspended service to music download site allofmp3.com, 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 allofmp3.com launches a public relations campaign to counter claims by the U.S. government that the site is an outlaw operation. On Tuesday, allofmp3.com 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 allofmp3.com is profiting from unauthorized music sales. Executives of allofmp3.com 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, allofmp3.com 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 Weblisten.com, have succumbed to legal pressure and shut their doors.

The U.S. has indicated that by allowing allofmp3.com to continue operating, Russia could be jeopardizing its bid to join the World Trade Organization.