RIAA Submits List of 'Notorious' Sites, Calls Out Russian Counterfeiters

The RIAA has submitted its annual roundup of music piracy offenders to the United States Trade Representative in order to include in this year's Notorious Markets List. 

In a letter to Elizabeth Kendall, the acting assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Innovation and Intellectual Property, RIAA svp of international policy George York said that while the music industry is thriving, it "continues to be threatened by online marketplaces that infringe our members’ music, as well as by sales of counterfeit products over ecommerce platforms, outdated and abused laws, and lack of proper enforcement mechanisms."

The RIAA's submission identifies major online actors that "threaten our industry's recovery and jeopardize the U.S. competitive advantage in digital trade," York writes, calling sites that pander in stream-ripping, stolen MP3s and unlicensed sales "distortions in the marketplace."

Missing from this year's list: YouTube ripping site, youtube-mp3.org, which was recently shut down. Here are the sites submitted by the RIAA:

Stream-Ripping Sites (+ amount of visits in past year): Mp3juices (over 1.7 billion); Convert2mp3 (2.3 billion); Savefrom (2.7 billion); Youtube2mp3 (827 million); Convertmp3 (1.5 billion); FLVTO & 2Conv (1 billion combined).

MP3 Search and Download Sites (+ visits): Newalbumreleases (80 million); Rnbxclusive (8.4 million); DailyNewJams (8.4 million).

BitTorrent Indexing Sites (+ visits): ThePirateBay (3.26 billion); Rarbg (1.5 billion); 1337x (798 million); Torrentdownloads (214 million).

Cyberlockers (+ visits): 4shard (1 billion); Uploaded (1 billion); Rapidgator (703 million); Zippyshare (1.6 billion); Dopefile (90.8 million); Chomikuj (336 million).

Unlicensed Pay for Download Sites (+ visits): Mp3va (8.7 million); Mp3fiesta (1.4 million).

The RIAA also pointed out two emerging problems to keep an eye on: infringing sites originating out of Nigeria, and the rise of certain third party app stores. Regarding the former, the trade group representing the U.S. recording industry said there are now more than 200 Nigerian-operated sites that distribute direct download links to pre-release or just-released music. These sites typical promoted themselves via Twitter, the report stated. As for third party app stores, sites like downloadAtoZ.com feature sections of infringing app that have been removed from the major app stores due to violations.

The submission includes another section flagging problems in the physical markets as well. The RIAA says that counterfeiters have moved from selling their fake CDs at brick and mortar stores to sales through prominent online retailers, such as Amazon and eBay. Counterfeiters selling out of China are producing high quality, hard-to-identify products, complete with pull tabs, liner notes and security seals identical to legitimate versions. Over in Russia, counterfeits tend to be less professional and are easier to identify.

According to the RIAA, Amazon and eBay have taken steps to disrupt the distribution of fakes through their platforms in the U.S., but that more needs to be done in other markets.