UK group gets approval to file lawsuit against Russian MP3 site

The British music industry's trade group has been cleared to sue the controversial Russian music download site in London's High Court, a Reuters report said.

The report said, which offered album downloads for as little as 1 pound ($1.85), was Britain's second most popular online music service behind Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store, according to one survey.

The Russian site claimed to be in compliance with local copyright laws, but music labels said they had not given permission for AllofMP3 to sell their songs, according to the report.

The Reuters report said the High Court had given its approval to serve legal proceedings against AllofMP3 and its owner Media Services in Russia ahead of a UK court case.

"The reason downloads are cheap is that neither the artists nor the record companies are being paid," BPI General Counsel Roz Groome was quoted as saying.

Earlier this year, US lawmakers warned against signing a bilateral trade deal with Russia until Moscow moved to reduce intellectual property theft, including the shutdown of AllofMP3. Russian prosecutors were conducting their own investigation of the site, the report said.