LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Record companies are unhappy with the a…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Record companies are unhappy with the acquittal of the former boss of a music download site who was acquitted by a Russian court on charges of breaching copyright.

The Russian court found the former boss of music download Web site not guilty of breaching copyright on Wednesday in a case considered a crucial test of Russia’s commitment to fighting piracy.

The Web site angered Western music companies by undercutting the price of downloads in deals they said breached copyright law.

Denis Kvasov, head of MediaServices which owned the site, was put on trial after entertainment companies EMI Group Plc, NBC Universal and Time Warner Inc. pressed for a prosecution.

“The prosecution did not succeed in presenting persuasive evidence of his involvement in infringing copyright law,” said judge Yekaterina Sharapova.

A local official with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which is representing copyright holders in the case, said it would appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed with the verdict and will appeal,” IFPI regional director Igor Pozhitkov told reporters.

The site has been a thorny issue in negotiations between Russia and the United States over Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, a key aim of President Vladimir Putin.

At the beginning of the year global credit card companies stopped allowing customers to pay for music downloads and by July the Web site had quietly closed down.

Kvasov always said he was within the law because the site paid part of its income to ROMS, a Russian organisation which collects and distributes fees for copyright holders.

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