Settlement reached between YouTube-MP3.org and record labels including UMG, Sony Music, and Warner Bros.
Internet piracy can take on many forms, and can involve everything from software to ebooks to digital entertainment like movies and music. In the fight against piracy, there’s often little that an individual property rights owner can do apart from issue cease and desist letters or file for a takedown notice from someone like Google. One recent victory, however, targeted a site that had less to do with piracy-profit and more to do with enabling tools.
One of the largest ripping sites is YouTube-MP3.org, and it’s been issued notice through a legal settlement that the activity of its site is in violation of copyright law. The service lets users grab content off of various sites like YouTube, meaning a user could call up the official music video for a chart topping song and convert it into an MP3. While the site’s owners weren’t selling any content, they made it possible for others to grab MP3 versions of new songs for personal use or for profit. Worse for the site’s owners, they were profiting off the advertising revenue generated through their site. Therefore, a court has ruled that they did in fact earn money from the illegal downloads.
Hundreds of millions of downloads
The settlement has been agreed upon by the site and several major record labels, many of whom counted illegal rips of their content numbering in the hundreds of millions of downloads. The order won’t be official until it’s been signed off on by a judge, and the complete details aren’t clear in terms of monetary settlements and final ownership of the website’s domain name. However, the victory won’t be in the form of damages but rather serving notice to other similar sites that the industry – and the courts – take this type of web tool very seriously.
For now, YouTube-MP3 is still in operation, although the service that lets you rip music files from video sources is no longer functioning.