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Russian music download service ‘LegalSounds’ is it legal?

Posted at 15 October 2005 19:30 CET by Crabbyappleton
--------- Want to subscribe or read more information about Legalsounds? Visit their website for more information, and subscribe if you like! ---------- Here we have a press release from PR Newswire detailing the debut of a new downloading service located in the former Soviet Union. The "source" is the website LegalSounds. With the recent disappearance of the very similar website, we have a couple things to consider. First and foremost are these services truly legal in other countries? Seems unlikely, as they are offering products such as the Beatles, that are unavailable in other legitimate services portfolios. But, perhaps the site is just having technical difficulty and is not simply shut down by authorities there. The second is, what happens to customers when they lose touch with such a remote site and they still have your unused money that is left in your account? Where do you turn? First, for a perspective from a man at least on the legal and moral aspect of these services, who makes a living in the music business, you may wish to read this post in our P2P Forum given by member Dhuman. Here is a snippet from his argument: "Sharing music for free between friends is one thing, and there's evidence that suggests that people who get free music listen to it and sometimes become music consumers who buy music to support the particular artist or label. When that happens, that's great. In the case of indie labels and artists, that income from music sales can be the difference between eating or not eating, or perhaps more accurately employing or not employing, or signing new bands or not signing new bands. However, I draw the line at sites like Allofmp3, or Musicborder, which set an arbitrary price for an unlimited music subscription, which they've not only never discussed with the label or artist, but I can assure you in 99% of the cases no money flows through *at all* to the artist. Someone is actually making money off someone else's work...and that money is *not* getting through to the artist, or label.ROMS may well be a legit service in Russia, I don't know, Neolex seems to think it is. But to assert that "ROMS in turn, is obligated to pay most of that money (aside from small portion it needs for operating expenses) to artists. Both Russian and foreign."...I hate to burst the balloon, but that does not happen. I can categorically tell you that my clients do not receive income from ROMS. How do I know? I ask the label heads. They look at the website...look at their checking money coming in...and they'd be in a position to know." On the second issue, it will just take time to see if does make a comeback and still retain accounts intact. In the years we have been following sites such as this, they have so far maintained a spotless record for not cheating a customer. With that in mind, we wait. Swansong for Peer to Peer?              MOSCOW, October 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Forget peer 2 peer software for downloading music. The end of peer 2 peer networks is near! No more virus risks, no more low quality downloads. No more spyware. Recently has opened its Online Music Download Store. With music downloads of all popular artists at only USD 0.14 a song, this can be the final step for most people to buy music online and not download it using peer to peer software. LegalSounds offers clients a unique alternative to downloading music online using software like Kazaa, Grokster or E-Donkey. At LegalSounds you just use their own Downloadmanager to easily browse, buy and download music files. These files are downloaded at high speed, up to 400kB per second and orderly placed on your hard drive in folders. Buying and downloading full albums of all your favorite artists is as easy as clicking just one button. How does it work? First you register yourself. Then install their Download- manager software and you replenish the balance of your account using a credit card or paying by phone. After this it's only browsing through their impressive catalogue,selecting music you like and with just one click, downloading it to your hard drive. And what about the money? Paying on LegalSounds is organized through 2 different credit card processing companies that accept all popular credit cards and use high security standards such as SSL encrypted datatraffic when processing your transaction. All customers can try the service for a test drive and get a free download without ever offering credit card information. If you really want to use the LegalSounds service but not your credit card, you can even pay byphone. Just open up a connection to a paid telephone number in your country for 15 minutes and your account balance is upgraded! The music catalogue of LegalSounds consists of all new artists, albums, charts and more. Even artists like the Beatles and Rolling Stones are present. And of course all new music off the charts. Is LegalSounds a peer 2 peer killer? See it for yourself. It works easily, prices are great and the music quality is outstanding. And downloading at USD 0.14 a song is pretty convincing! http://www.legalsounds.comIt seems that these type services are legal in their own country, while other countries are crying "foul". It was recently publicised that these services cannot be litigated against due to the lack of "physical evidence". To the Russian government's legal system, if you can't hold it in your hand or see it, it isn't physical evidence so they can't do anything about it! You can read the details of the specific complaint against that was decided upon by the Prosecutor for Moscow's South Western district in this related story. If you like to keep up on these matters, or possibly you even were a member of and would like to stay current with it's situation, feel free to visit our Music Download, Peer to Peer (P2P) & Legal Issues Forum. There you can visit this thread specifically for issues with PR Newswire

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There are 17 comments

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Posted on: 18 Jul 07 09:21
    There are detailed reviews of LegalSounds, MP3Search, and many other similar sites at . If you're interested in these types of sites, take a look there for more info before putting your money on the line.
    New on Forum
    Posted on: 05 Sep 07 06:29
      I emailed around for answers and this is what I got: "Daniel, thanks for your e-mail. As you imagined in your first e-mail, the site is most certainly not licensed to deliver music to the United States. Indeed, the site is not even licensed to deliver music in Russia, but that is another matter. You may have heard of another Russian site called that offers a similar service. They both claim licenses from an entities called ROMS and/or FAIR. Unfortunately, these so-called collecting societies are not authorized by relevant rightholders themselves, and the entire “licensing” process is a sham that does not result in the payment of money to artists or to labels. We have been struggling for some time to secure the closure of these sites that rip off American performing artists and labels, with mixed results. But in any event, the answer to your question is very easy and straightforward—they are not legal in the United States. I hope that helps. -Neil" There you have it. You may be thinking "who cares? If the company gets in hot water, I won't" That may be true but there have been many reports of complications with credit cards. They are already in the grey area, why risk your credit card account? Thanks for reading. -Daniel Farnsworth
      No longer with us
      Posted on: 31 Oct 07 23:07
        I've been looking into this myself lately, and so far it seems that is legitimate enough to have been running for 2+ years at this point. I've seen a number of posts asking if the site is legal, and the only arguments I've seen against it are more or less based on the morality of the site, and the possibility of being cheated. No one has said that it is illegal. As for morality and cheating, it seems to me that any way that I buy music I run the possibility of being cheated. In fact, if I go down to the local music store and buy a CD, I'm probably much more likely being cheated:,2933,115443,00.html So, really, any argument against using something based on morality and the possibility of being cheated, when the question asked was if something is legal or not, seems pretty irrelevant to me. I've not used this site yet, and am still in the process of researching it, so if anyone can give me a legal argument as to why not to use it, I would appreciate it very much.
        No longer with us
        Posted on: 19 Nov 07 22:43
          Well, I think the question of legality is bound to morality in this case. I think most people are not afraid of getting busted for getting music illegally. Personally, I think the issue is more about whether the artist has authorized it. If I created music and someone else is selling it without my permission, that *should* be illegal. Even if the price is incredibly low, if those who are authorized agreed to it, fine. Otherwise, if it's only legal because Russia (like China) does not respect the intellectual property of people from other countries, then yes, it is a question of morality and I'd rather not support these bootleggers.
          No longer with us
          Posted on: 17 Dec 07 02:49
            i just checked out and registered, the credit card transactions were not on a secure site, or i couldn't see any evidence of being a secure site so i backed out before i gave my credit card number :S :S
            No longer with us
            Posted on: 02 Apr 08 17:04
              This is my take on Russian (or other country) music sites. 1. You cannot apply US law to these businesses. They operate in another country and are subject to those laws. I should be able to get music from them since they are legal in the country where they operate. This is equivalent to me outsourcing my music supplier like big corporations outsourcing to cheaper labor or suppliers overseas. 2. The fact that these sites don't pay the labels or artists is not my problem. I'm not the music industry police. 3. The labels screw us and the artists left and right and all the while telling us not to use these cheaper music sources by appealing to our sense of fairness. Where was their sense of fairness before the FTC fined the crap out of them for unfair trade practices? Who put spyware on music CD's? Who markets explicit music to children? Don't fall for this record label argument. They have no intention of playing fair with us. 4. The price doesn't matter. The reason that songs are cheap in Russia is because that is what the economy bears there. The wage base there is much lower than the US, so things will be relatively cheaper. You cannot argue that the price is too low. Again, don't compare it to US conditions. Think outsourcing like corporations do, that's all it is. 5. If I bought a cassette tape 20 years ago, then I've already paid the license fee for those songs and I should then be able to download them for free. 6. The entire music industry is corrupt anyway so don't try to impose morality on this one issue. Learn how songs get on the radio, its basically bribes that drive it. Learn how managers take advantage of artists. Learn how labels take advantage of artists. Learn how concert promoters and ticket selling corporations screw the public for concerts. Fix the entire industry before zeroing in on this comparatively small part of the industry. 7. The record labels have been screwing us for decades and now its payback time.
              No longer with us
              Posted on: 29 Apr 08 18:58
                It's a nice replacement for my old friend...allofmp3. If you're scared of the credit card problem, I suggest a virtual account number. Citibank and others are offering them now for one time transactions and they are super easy. If you sign up, use this link!
                No longer with us
                Posted on: 10 May 08 17:54
                  ive been usin and downloadin th free songs nd i want to download some albums from ther but will my credit card get ripped off?? thanks
                  No longer with us
                  Posted on: 30 May 08 23:54
                    I just lost about $40.00 on mp3sugar. I would like to find a new site but I'm a little snack bit. As for the morality of these sites...offer a more reasonable legal price and I'd buy there. Asking .99 a song is an outrage! Think about how much less it cost the music industry to sell music on line. No cover material or art, no shipping, no stores. Yet, if you buy a CD with 18 songs on it at the store you'll probably pay anywhere from 10.99 to 15.99. So the music industry is actually charging more to buy music on line. It makes no sense to me. Itunes won't even let you make a CD out of your music. I'll keep taking my chances with the Russian sites until I have no choice.
                    No longer with us
                    Posted on: 14 Oct 08 23:08
                      Dan Bell- Get a life, Money doesn't make the world go around... There are more important things in the world than artists getting 3billion instead of 3.5billion.
                      No longer with us
                      Posted on: 03 Jan 09 02:32
                        Even with sites like around I daresay that artistes are making a good living from existing royalties. Its just greed that keeps them wanting more- In any case so what if an artist can no longer make a living from music?- Go get a real job!
                        No longer with us
                        Posted on: 03 Jan 09 03:07
                          For those of you who are afraid to risk their credit card information, consider using a visa debit card for your online transactions.I mantain a small amount into the account, just enough to support my online transactions. Should someone steal my details and try to make a big transaction it would just decline. Once that happens, and i am notified, I just close the account and apply for a new debit card. So far, I have had no problems. Btw is really a great site with an impressive archive
                          Click this link to find out more
                          No longer with us
                          Posted on: 15 Jan 09 23:56
                            I use legalsounds because they simply have the best selection.
                            After spending weeks writing to "Itunes" about what bands they have that I like, they won't show you a list till you pay...and it turns out they have crap like Britneyt Spears and other top forty crap. I looked for songs only offered on the European version of U.D.O. Mastercutor for months and when found them on Legalsounds, I joined!...I already bough the CD, I just wantedthe supplement. As far as I'm concerned, that rap/hip hop/ Britney Spears thing are only musicians in it for the money....and Voila! they ain't gettin' any here (boo hoo).
                            MyCE Resident
                            Posted on: 16 Jan 09 00:04
                              The only thing to remember folks, is that these people are profiting from someone elses work and have no intention of paying anything out to those that provide the very products they sell. I think that this is worse than file sharing as at least in that scenario users are not making money from it.

                              In addition, if you use the site I certainly would do anything I could to hide my true identity and definately NOT use a personal credit card number- use one of the alternate methods described above. It is obvious these people have no conscience or scruples.

                              Also, do not be surprised if in the future- you get a warning letter from your ISP if the RIAA "flags" this site. The RIAA has turned to ISPs to become their new scofflaw flushing flunky. So keep your balance low....
                              No longer with us
                              Posted on: 07 Mar 09 13:21
                                "Russian Multimedia and Internet Society"
                                They call themselves "legalsounds," but they are based in Russia, supposedly adhere to RM&IS (see above) copyright laws. I admit, the prices are tempting and an actual 'steal,' but how can a legitimate business charge those miniscule prices, give the artists their share, and maintain a legal business at the same time? Umm, because they can't do all those things and don't intend to? Perhaps they are using your personal information in nefarious ways to increase their profits, without your knowledge and permission? Don't say it can't happen. I'd rather give the artists $12 bucks or so for an decent HQ MP3 album. While using a Visa charge I can dispute with a reputable company, knowing the artist is getting their due, and I'm getting my privacy and ID info respected and not stolen. Otherwise, you may as well just download it somewhere else and not pay a cent to these guys. Just saying.
                                Posted on: 26 May 09 19:35
                                  New on Forum
                                  Posted on: 10 Oct 09 06:12
                                    I have read danielfarnsworth's exact same comments on other sites that are discussing this issue. Looks like a copy and pate comment to me and makes me wonder if he is representing the RIAA or some other industry group

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