In a recent long-form story for Breitbart News, I introduced readers to “stream ripping”- applications and websites that allow users to download songs (for free) from music streaming sites like YouTube. The article followed the success of USA for Africa’s famed song “We Are The World” and explained how stream ripping was having an enormously negative effect on the business of selling music. The story highlighted one of the world’s most highly trafficked stream ripping sites, YouTube-mp3.org, and showed how the site and Google were profiting from the practice:
“After a short visit to YouTube-mp3.org, ‘We Are The World’ can be downloaded for free. USA for Africa receives nothing. But Google gets its cut of the advertising.”
Well, it appears the entire music industry took notice. On Monday, all three major record labels sued YouTube-mp3.org and its creator, Philip Matesanz, for copyright infringement and for profiting from stream ripping through digital advertising. YouTube and Google are not a party to the litigation. However, the lawsuit could turn out to be as big as any of the landmark cases in the music industry, both because it could test legal precedence and because the website’s creator is a fighter who has presumably pocketed a sizable fortune from advertising for the purpose of fighting potential litigation.
A major battle over the future of the music business is brewing.
Read about the lawsuit here.
This issue of stream ripping laid dormant for years, but it took my story to get the media to cover it. Yes, I’m taking a victory lap.
“Major Labels Sue Popular Stream Ripping Website for Alleged Infringement” – WSJ
“Major Record Labels Sue Over Ripping Audio Tracks from YouTube Videos” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Music Labels Sue German Tech Company Over Ripped MP3 Files” – New York Post
“Record Labels Sue Popular YouTube Audio-Ripping Site” – The Verge
“Major Labels Sue YouTube Ripping Site” – BBC News
“Global music industry seeing YouTube-mp3 for ‘helping people easily pirate music from streams'” – International Business Times
“Sony, Atlantic, Warner Bros. Team to Sue YouTube Music Pirates” – CNET
“Record Labels Are Issuing Huge Lawsuits to End Pirating Music From YouTube” – Yahoo News
“Major Record Labels Band Together to Sue YouTube-Ripping Site” – A.V. Club
“Stream Ripping Website YouTube-MP3 Sued By Music Industry Coalition” – Tech Times