Another piracy mole has been comprehensively whacked, with the news that ‘stream-ripping’ site YouTube-MP3 is shutting down as part of a settlement in its legal battle with labels represented by US body the RIAA.
TorrentFreak picked up on the latest filing in the case, which notes that both parties have agreed a settlement that asks the court to rule in favour of the labels “on all counts of the complaint”.
The operators of YouTube-MP3 will be barred from running the site or any other that is “substantially similar” to it, and they have also agreed not to sell or distribute its source code, or develop any other stream-ripping technology.
There’s also a “settlement payment” – as yet undisclosed – although both sides will pay their own fees and costs in the case. The YouTube-MP3 domain name will be transferred to the labels as part of the deal too.
A big victory for the industry? The US Trade Representative (USTR) last ‘Notorious Markets’ report in December 2016 claimed that YouTube-MP3 accounted for “about 40 percent of the world’s stream ripping activity” while generating “hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue through advertising”.
When the labels launched their lawsuit against the site in September 2016, they claimed that it was attracting more than 60 million unique monthly users. Rightsholders will feel justified in celebrating its demise, then, even if they’re also aware that other stream-ripping sites may pop up in its wake.
The ongoing challenge here is not just about shutting down individual – if heavy in traffic – sites. A study commissioned by the IFPI last year claimed that 49% of all 16-24 year-olds were stream-ripping at least some of their music.
Continued work on making licensed streaming services more appealing to those people – and, indeed, on figuring out what blend of features might persuade them to pay for a subscription – must remain the primary focus for the industry.