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EFF denies that stream-ripping is intrinsically illegal


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In its recent ‘Notorious Markets’ submission to the US Trade Representative, the RIAA took aim once again at stream-ripping websites, which enable people to rip YouTube videos into downloadable MP3 files.

Now campaigning body the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised the RIAA’s line of argument in its own submission to the Representative. After defending content delivery networks (like CloudFlare) and domain-name registrars from claims that they protect piracy sites, the EFF addresses stream-ripping.

“Websites that simply allow users to extract the audio track from a user-selected online video are not ‘illegal sites’ and are not liable for copyright infringement, unless they engage in additional conduct that meets the definition of infringement,” claimed its filing.

“There exists a vast and growing volume of online video that is licensed for free downloading and modification, or contains audio tracks that are not subject to copyright. Moreover, many audio extractions qualify as non-infringing fair uses under copyright.”

It’s not a surprising line to take: a similar argument was made in the past by bodies like the EFF around peer-to-peer filesharing services and torrent trackers.

Stuart Dredge

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