Russia isn’t quite the copyright wasteland that it’s sometimes portrayed as by people who remember the heyday of AllofMP3: for example, legal services like Zvooq have received the backing of rightsholders. Even so, news that Apple is planning to launch iTunes in Russia will be welcomed as a big step forward for the digital music market there. Business newspaper Vedomosti reports (via PaidContent) that Apple is in licensing negotiations with a view to launching iTunes Russia in Q4 this year or Q1 2013, selling tracks at cheaper prices than in Western versions of the store. Having made the ‘not a wasteland’ point, the IFPI has criticised Russia for “being held back by a culture of copyright infringement”, reserving particular ire for social network vKontakte. Rightsholders will be hoping Apple’s entry into the market – buoyed by stronger sales of iPhone and other smartphones – can give legal sales a boost.

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