The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is ramping up efforts to combat stream-ripping sites, which allow users to create and download mp3 files from song streams on YouTube or SoundCloud. In its latest victories, the organization this week obtained subpoenas against domain registrar NameCheap and internet security and performance company Cloudflare to identify the users behind website Y2Mate and forced the site DBR.ee offline.
These are welcome legal victory for the Washington, D.C.-based organization, which suffered a setback earlier this year when a federal judge ruled that he lacked jurisdiction to tackle the major labels’ case against the owner of stream-ripping sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, Tofig Kurbanov, because his online properties were based in Russia. Part of his reasoning behind the decision is these Russian sites don’t directly interact with American consumers. (The RIAA appealed the judge’s decision in March.)
According to Torrentfreak, Y2Mate brings in close to 64 million visits each month, which lands it among the top 900 most-visited sites in the U.S. even though 89 percent of its traffic arrives from elsewhere around the globe. The owners of stream-ripping sites typically fall back on “safe harbor” provisions that they are immune from liability because the sites themselves are not hosting infringing content; and it’s possible that users of Y2Mate and other offending sites are ripping audio that is available for “fair use” and taken from free media repositories like Creative Commons.
Obtained in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the subpoenas order NameCheap and CloudFlare to deliver a “name, physical address, IP address, telephone number, e-mail address, payment information, account updates and account history.”
The illegal file-hosting service DBR.ee was named in the Cloudflare subpoena and has already been forced offline in a joint effort by the RIAA, Music Canada and the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI), according to a new report by Complete Music Update.
The DBR.ee domain now navigates to a joint message by the three organizations that states, “This site has been shut down following legal action for copyright infringement. Making available copyright protected music on the internet without authorisation from the copyright holder is illegal. Wilful, commercial scale copyright infringement could lead to criminal conviction. Illegal music services exploit the work of artists and pay nothing to those creating and investing in music.”
File-hosting services like DBR.ee are typically linked to in online forums where users share information on sources of illegal music and movie downloads. A number of similar sites were listed on the same subpoena.
In a statement to Billboard, a spokesperson for IFPI said, “DBR.ee was responsible for large scale copyright infringement of music content. On behalf of our member record companies, IFPI, RIAA and Music Canada identified and contacted the site operator who has now agreed to shut down the site completely and not to infringe sound recording rights in the future.”
A spokesperson for RIAA declined Billboard‘s request for comment.
This story was updated to incorporate the statement from IFPI.