×

World’s Largest YouTube Ripping Site Ordered to Shut Down

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.”

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.”

More Music

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Gary Clark Jr.Gary Clark Jr.in concert

    Gary Clark Jr. Brings the Austin Flame to a Hollywood Heat-Wave BBQ (Watch)

    When you have Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, rocker Michael Des Barres and a flock of dancing young women all rushing the stage at a private event, that’s a good sign you’ve got it going on. Even L.A.’s biggest heat wave of the year so far couldn’t keep a mixed music industry audience away from the [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk – and success — hanging [...]

  • Rihanna House

    Rihanna Seeks Renter for Hollywood Hills Villa

    Not having had any luck selling, Rihanna now seeks a well-heeled renter for a Hollywood Hills residence that is now available to rent at $35,000 per month, after it popped up for sale for late last year at almost $7.5 million. The mono-monikered Barbadian pop superstar and international style icon, also a savvy beauty, fashion [...]

  • Post Malone

    Post Malone Announces Fall Arena Tour With Swae Lee

    Post Malone has announced a fall arena tour, where he’ll be joined by Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh, kicking off Sept. 14 in Tacoma, WA and running through November, where it’ll wrap up with southern California shows No. 16 at the Honda Center and Nov. 20 at the Forum. The “Runaway Tour” will also make [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content