The rogue stream-ripping site YouTube-mp3.org has been taken down following legal action brought by organisations representing record companies in the U.S. and U.K.
The Germany-based company which had 60 million visitors per month and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue each month (without sharing the proceeds with creators), has been taken offline and its owner Philip Matesanz has agreed not to infringe the rights of artists and record companies in the future.
According to a recently-published report, stream-ripping grew by more than 140% in the years from 2014 to 2016, when nearly 500,000 occurrences were recorded. It’s considered the most prevalent form of music piracy in the U.K., accounting for almost 70% of all music-specific infringements. Stream-ripped files can be created with apps, websites, plug-ins and specially-developed software and, once saved, can be played offline on any digital device.
YouTube-MP3.org was identified as a “chief offender” and was sued for breach of copyright in 2016.
The industry welcomed the news
“This is a significant win for millions of music fans, as well as music creators and legitimate music services,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “One of the world’s most egregious stream ripping sites has shuttered. Sites like these undermine the health of the legitimate marketplace and the livelihoods of millions of music creators worldwide. The swift and successful conclusion of this case should send an unmistakable signal to the operators of similar sites.”
Adds Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI: “This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists. 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.”
In a settlement agreement with the labels, the site promises cease operations globally and not to infringe in the future and to comply with a formal injunction that has now been approved by the U.S. court.