French authors rights societies Sacem and SDRM have taken joint legal action against Allofmp3 and Mp3sugar, two Russian services which sell music downloads for unusually low prices.
The action was filed at the French Tribunal de Grande Instance of Nanterre on March 9, Sacem said in a statement issued Monday.
Sacem is accusing the services of offering works without paying relevant rights to the French societies. Blockbuster albums are available on the sites for slightly more than $2. Sacem and SDRM are demanding that the services block access to French users.
In a conversation with Billboard.biz, Sacem legal affair deputy director Hubert Tilliet says the action was a necessary first step in a legal process that might encourage French ISPs to block their subscribers' access to the rogue sites.
But Tilliet admitted that, even if Sacem and SDRM won their case, it may prove difficult to achieve compliance with the Russian sites.
While recorded music trade bodies from various countries, including the British Phonographic Industry, have taken action against Allofmp3 in the past, this is understood to be the first time such a move has been made by societies representing authors, composers and publishers.
In the past fortnight , music files from Paris-based BlogMusik and Radio.blog.club were cut after Sacem and collecting society SPPF issued a cease and desist order to the online service's Web hosting provider. RadioBlogClub is understood to have since relaunched from new servers.