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allofmp3.com music site faces closure

Man arrested as IFPI bites back

A man has been arrested for selling allofmp3.com vouchers. The recording industry has stepped up its battle to shut down allofmp3.com, announcing the arrest of the man.

The police arrested the 25-year-old man in Bow, east London, earlier this month, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) said today. He is alleged to have sold the vouchers through auction sites such as eBay. The IFPI said he then sent the money to off-shore accounts operated by allofmp3.com's owners.

The music industry has been battling hard to shut down allofmp3.com, a Russian website which it accuses of selling cut-rate music without paying royalties to artists.

The IFPI hopes to run the site out of business by eliminating the ways it can collect payments. Paypal, Visa and Mastercard have already stopped accepting payments at the site, according to the IFPI, and closing the voucher operation is the latest step in that strategy.

The UK man, who wasn't identified, was the first person to be arrested for copyright infringement under Section 2 of the 2006 Fraud Act, a law enacted in January to fight online fraud, the IFPI said. He was arrested at a private address where police seized computers and paperwork.

The IFPI called the arrest "a significant step in the demise of the Russian illegal music website" as "payment options run dry and the law closes in". The vouchers operation may have netted "tens of thousands of pounds" for the website's owners, the IFPI said.

The vouchers were priced at £10 each and were also sold at allofmp3vouchers.co.uk, which included an access code that people entered at the online store to make purchases.

Traffic to allofmp3.com has been declining, the IFPI said, although shutting it down has been a lengthy process involving legal actions in several countries.

The music industry has secured an injunction against the website in Germany, and ISPs have been ordered to block access to it in Denmark. The Italian site allofmp3.it has been shut down, and legal actions are under way in Russia, the US, France and the UK, the IFPI said.

Allofmp3.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The website has said it believes it is legal in Russia and has posted a FAQ about its legality.

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