Gold'en Rant of the Week : Visa/MasterCard - too picky and choosy?

I pay for and download music from a Russian Web site called AllofMP3.com. The site is quite legal, having been set up some five years ago to tackle the problem of piracy in Russia.

Because of the piracy issue, you can download an album in MP3 format for just a few pounds.

Now Visa and MasterCard have instructed their card issuers to stop accepting charges for the site, on the grounds that the site is illegal.

Which it isn't. The record labels struck a deal back in 2001 for the Russian language Web site to sell downloads at relatively low prices, but weren't happy when an English language version of the site popped up a couple of years ago.

A deal is a deal, however. Unless you're Visa and MasterCard, responding to `requests' from the record labels and others.

Fortunately for e-music lovers, Mediaservices, the firm behind AllofMP3.com, has created a new site - Alltunes - to offer improved facilities to customers, one of which is the acceptance of Visa/MasterCard payments via Chronopay, a Russian e-payments service.

Mediaservices says that both of its sites operates within the law, since it pays royalties to a Russian licensing group.

Which appears to be quite legal. Unless you're Visa and MasterCard and can choose which companies you want to do business with. This is quite disgusting, as the two card issuer groups have also started outlawing payments to gambling sites they don't like.