U.K. music industry to sue AllofMP3.com

Inexpensive album downloads might sound good to customers, but royalties aren't being paid, trade group claims.

Jo Best Special to CNET News.com
The U.K. music-industry trade organization, the BPI, is to sue popular Russian download site AllofMP3.com, claiming it is not sharing any of its profits with the artists whose music it sells.

AllofMP3.com sells singles and albums for download in a fashion similar to rival iTunes, but AllofMP3's offerings typically are much less expensive--1 pound (about $1.87) per album versus iTunes' typical price of 7.99 pounds ($14.85).

The site says it complies with Russian laws and does make royalty payments to the country's rights-holders organization. Not so, says the BPI, which maintains that all of the site's claims to legal operation are false and that no artists have received royalties from the site to date.

As a result, the BPI is now intending to take AllofMP3.com through the U.K. courts.

A representative for the BPI said the organization's lawyers won't be going after any U.K. users of the site: "While it remains illegal to use the site, we aren't interested in taking users to task--what we are doing is targeting the site itself."

According to recent research by XTN, AllofMP3.com is the second-most-used download site in the U.K., behind Apple Computer's iTunes.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.