In Soviet Russia, Is Legal! is one of those brilliant sites that I perpetually feel guilty for using, since it really is just too great a value to be legal. Nevertheless, it’s hard to resist buying music by the digital equivalent of the kilo: 99 cents per song feels like a reaming after paying a penny per meg.

Needless to say, the RIAA wants to shut them down, but have been powerless to do so: they are located in Russia and apparently comply with all local copyright laws. The RIAA is so pissed off that they’ve managed to lobby to make a provision for Russia joining the WTO the complete destruction of

In response to the strong arm tactics, has broken their silence and issued a press release, explaining their business model and why they feel that they are a completely legal source of music. They argue that they pay royalties to artists through Russian organizations for collective management of rights.

So is it legal? Possibly, but legal in crime-saturated Russia, which is a nebulous definition of legality from any perspective. It’s probably a moot point: warns that their business is going to change due to the change of Russian copyright law in September 2006. So if you can stomach any moral qualms, the next few months are the time to pay for music by the bound while basking in the nebulosity of quasi-copyright legality. breaks silence. []

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