World’s Largest YouTube Ripping Site Ordered to Shut Down

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Courtesy of YouTube

The music industry has scored a major legal victory, sinking the pirate outfit YouTube-mp3.org, a global “stream ripping” site operating out of Germany that was facilitating the theft of millions of dollars worth of music intellectual property per year.

The ruling signed today (Sept. 7) concluded the action brought last September in U.S. Federal Court Central District of California by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of the labels succeeded in shuttering the site, which had 60 million global visitors per month and was characterized by the RIAA as “the world’s largest stream ripping operation.”

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Stream ripping – the process of creating a downloadable file from content that is available to stream online – is now the most prevalent form of online music copyright infringement, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). YouTube-mp3.org and sites like it typically extract audio files from music videos and distribute the sound recordings to users free permanent downloads.

The pirate sites monetize the freebies through paid advertising that is estimated by the RIAA to add up to “hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue per month,” none of it channeled back to creators, artists or copyright holders. “This is a significant win for millions of music fans, as well as music creators and legitimate music services,” RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said. “The swift and successful conclusion of this case should send an unmistakable signal to the operators of similar sites,” he added.

Stream ripping sites “blatantly infringe,” IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said. Moore noted that globally “hundreds of services with over 40 million tracks” allow fans “more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so, compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed to jeopardize this and we will continue to take action against these sites.”

In researching the suit, RIAA lawyers found evidence of  YouTube-mp3.org  existing as far back as 2009, but “it came on to our radar around 2015,” a spokeswoman for the association said.

In September 2016 the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) sent YouTube-mp3.org a cease and desist letter. As a result of that letter and the RIAA lawsuit, the pirate company earlier this year geo-blocked users from the U.S. and U.K., but users in Germany and elsewhere were still able to infringe. This formal injunction by the U.S. court has resulted in YouTube-mp3.org  agreeing to shut down globally and not to infringe in the future.

UMG Music, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group were named plaintiffs in the suit, in addition to a host of subsidiaries including Capitol Records, Zomba, and Nonesuch. Defendants were PMD Technologie UG, YouTube-mp3 and Philip Matesanz. The order was entered Tuesday (Sept. 5) by Judge André Birotte Jr. “in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants on all counts.”

Research conducted by IFPI finds that stream ripping sites are operating on a massive scale, with 53 per cent of all 16-24 year-olds engaged in the activity.

“This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists,” BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said. “Most fans understand that getting music from a genuine site supports the artists they love and allows labels to nurture the next generation of talent. Music stands on the cusp of an exciting future in the streaming age, but only if we take resolute action against illegal businesses that try to siphon away its value.”

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    1. Avery J Sieben says:

      Lmao a major victory for the music industry my ass, Vevo has tons of ad revenue on top of their music, plus there is still going to be plenty of torented music no matter what. The music industry is a sham and I could care less if they are ripped off. They rip off people for a living!

    2. Youtube says:

      try https://h2converter.com, I think this is a great tool to replace

    3. “This is a significant win for millions of music fans,…”

      That part is incorrect, as either spending more or at all and having to go through convoluted measures and deal with DRM tolisten to the music often not in the same app, device or even playlist because of said obstructions is a loss for music fans. It’s a win if you make money off merchandising music, on the other hand. Or if you’re a lawyer or an outdated middle-man.

      • Yeah says:

        Lawyers are consistently the highest group of donors to regulation-laden politicians. Whoever favors “regulation” that’s where the lawyers money goes.

    4. Dawid says:

      Oh no, how am I going to stream rip now? It’s not like there are hundreds of alternatives to this site that haven’t been taken down.

      Seriously, where one falls there are countless to take it’s place.

    5. Paul says:

      I’m not entirely I understand the benefit of sites like this versus the addons that are available for browsers which simply add a download button to the youtube page.

    6. This Does Nothing says:

      This article makes it seem like this was the only website of it’s kind. These websites are numerous, and I don’t know much about creating websites but I would assume they’re relatively simple to make as well. Even if you could theoretically wipe out these websites on the surface web (which I would wager to say is virtually impossible), the equivalent would just show up on the deep web. At this point, this is not something that can be stopped. No matter how many websites are sued and/or shut down, there will always be another free way.

    7. Drink Bleach Everyday says:

      Music from old TV shows, video games, & movies that never got an official commercial soundtrack.

      Music from parody artists who neither sell their music on iTunes nor post links to mp3s.

      Vlogs become podcasts you can listen to in the car.

    8. Allaiyah Weyn says:

      Like the hydra of myth, cut off one head, & another shall grow.

    9. Allyson Gray says:

      These websites are presented as tools for pirating, something specifically meant to allow people to steal music, but in truth that’s not their only use and may not even be their main one.
      There is so much audio on Youtube that is not even available commercially – music by hobbyists, free podcasts, amateur videos, comedy skits, talk shows, music from any game/show/movie never released in a proper soundtrack, or for which the CD has been discontinued… This is all audio content that’s, in theory, perfectly okay to take. Stream ripping websites are a legitimate tool in helping people access this content, the taking of which does not harm creators at all.

    10. John says:

      Honestly I find it annoying that they think this is a major victory. I assure you, 90% of students in schools who listen to music depend on sites like this. The fan base for popular aritists is constituted by a large amount of people who use these. It’s more of a damaging blow because the people who depended on sites like these to download music. (I myself did and still do on other sites that are still up). Honestly they lost about 100-200 thousand people scattered throughout the world. It angers and saddens me but I can’t do anything about it.

    11. Mitch Stoltz says:

      It’s incorrect and misleading to describe this as a “major legal victory,” because the defendants never contested the lawsuit – they simply agreed to settle on undisclosed terms, and the court acknowledged that settlement. No court ever determined that YouTube-MP3 “was facilitating the theft of millions of dollars worth of music intellectual property” – that was simply RIAA’s argument, never proven. Under U.S. law, many uses of YouTube-MP3 were perfectly legal, either as fair use or under a license. And providing the means to copy music is not itself illegal if the technology is capable of substantial non-infringing uses. I encourage you to take a quick look at the court docket and familiarize yourself with the law before reporting RIAA talking points as fact.

    12. Walt says:

      I don’t get it. Haven’t there been several different software products people use to do this? They wouldn’t need a site unless they’re outside the country of origin for most of the music involved (European nations, but also US/CAN)

    13. Cristian says:

      im use my favorite is youtube mp3 new youtube download mp3

    14. Laura Monpis says:

      I use http://urtube2mp3.com

      Is completely Legal and is Youtube Partner too.

      :)

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