YouTube.mp3, the world's top website for creating MP3 files out of YouTube videos, has apparently agreed to shut down and relinquish its domain name, ending a copyright infringement lawsuit filed last year by a coalition of record labels.
The popular site was accused of being the "chief offender" of its form of piracy, "accounting for upwards of 40 percent of all unlawful stream ripping that takes place in the world," according to court documents. The site is believed to attract upwards of 60 million users per month.
A proposed settlement between YouTube-MP3.org owner Philip Matesanz and major label trade body the RIAA, filed on Sept. 1 in the District Court of the Central District of California, includes the following: the site will shut down; the domain's ownership must transfer to the RIAA; and an undisclosed fee will be paid to the plaintiffs, which include Universal Music, Sony Music and various Warner Music imprints.
The agreement also stipulates that Matesanz -- who created the site when he was a teen -- must refrain from “knowingly designing, developing, offering, or operating any technology or service that allows or facilitates the practice commonly known as 'streamripping,' or any other type of copyright infringement for that matter."
You can read the agreement here.
Filed in September 2016, the original lawsuit asserted a straight copyright infringement claim as well as claims for contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement and inducement of copyright infringement. It detailed how, in the span of a few clicks, users could create infringing copies of recordings. The RIAA suggested that "tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month."
The continued popularity of stream ripping coincides with the rise of streaming services, along with precipitous declines in legal digital download sales across the music business. In its most recent year-end report, the RIAA noted that overall download sales are declining faster than physical (CD) ones -- by 21.6 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively.