Russian police have submitted evidence on a download service whose principals are allegedly involved in large-scale copyright infringement.

LONDON -- Russian police have submitted evidence on a download service whose principals are allegedly involved in large-scale copyright infringement.

Following complaints from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the Moscow City police department's Computer Crimes unit instigated a criminal investigation into the Allofmp3.com Web site. On Feb. 8, the unit handed the results to the city's prosecutor's office.

The Russian service declares an offering of 300,000 local and international audio titles, including tracks by the Beatles, U2, Bob Dylan and Green Day.

In a disclaimer on its site, the service says license fees for all materials are paid according to the Russian Federation law "on copyright and related rights." It adds, "Allofmp3.com's administration does not keep up with the laws of different countries and is not responsible the actions of non-Russian users."

The IFPI has welcomed the action. The trade body insists that the site is not authorized to sell music from its members, either domestically or internationally. "We very much hope and expect that the prosecutor will proceed with this case, which involves the sale and digital distribution of copyrighted music without the consent or authorization of the rights holders," IFPI Russia regional director Igor Pozhitkov says.

The prosecutor has 30 days from the date of receiving evidence to decide whether to proceed with a criminal prosecution.

The IFPI recognizes Russia as the 12th largest music market. Its piracy levels, however, are rampant. In recent years, the trade body has blamed flawed legislation, weak enforcement and insufficient penalties for undermining efforts to strengthen the country's legitimate music market. Only China has a bigger piracy problem, the IFPI says in its "Commercial Piracy Report 2004."