Web site blocking Russia's WTO entry

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab has singled out Russian music site www.allofmp3.com as a key stumbling block to Russia's ascension to the World Trade Organization, a Moscow Times report said.


The site's owners, however, say that they are having the last laugh, the Moscow Times report said.


'They are promoting us,' Vadim Mamotin, general director of Mediaservices, which operates the site, was quoted as saying.


He said the site was signing up thousands of new clients after the US criticism, the report said.


Schwab said Russia must shut down the site, which Washington considers to be one of the world's largest sources of pirated music, to get the US' blessing to enter the world trade body, the report said.


Set up by a handful of programmers in 2000, the site now has 5.5 million subscribers and is signing up 5,000 new users daily, Mamotin said.


He said the programmers conceived the site for their own use and had never expected it to become very popular.


The site charges $0.15 to $0.30 per song compared to about $1 per song on most music industry-sanctioned sites, including Apple's iTunes store, the report said.