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Tuesday, 27 September 2016 10:02

Top record labels sue YouTube ripping site

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Big record labels have sued the owners of YouTube-mp3.org. a website that allows users to rip audio streams from videos on YouTube.

The companies involved include UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, Arista Records, Atlantic Records and several others.

They claim that the owner of YouTube-mp3.org, Philip Matesanz, whom they allege is the chief offender, has infringed their rights. The suit was filed in federal court in California.

In the UK, Matesanz has been put on formal notice by the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the music industry, that he will face legal action if it does not cease its activities.

The record companies want Web hosts, domain name registrars and other third parties to make it impossible to gain access to YouTube-mp3.org. They are also seeking statutory damages and costs.

A media release from the Recording Industry Association of America quoted Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, as saying: "This is a co-ordinated action to protect the rights of artists and labels from the blatant infringements of YouTube-mp3, the world’s single-largest 'stream ripping' site.

"Music companies and digital services today offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – over hundreds of services with scores of millions of tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed jeopardise this."

Cary Sherman, chairman and chief executive of the RIAA, said: "This site is raking in millions on the backs of artists, songwriters and labels. We are doing our part, but everyone in the music ecosystem who says they believe that artists should be compensated for their work has a role to play. It should not be so easy to engage in this activity in the first place, and no stream ripping site should appear at the top of any search result or app chart."

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "It's time to stop illegal sites like this building huge fortunes by ripping off artists and labels. Fans have access now to a fantastic range of legal music streaming services, but they can only exist if we take action to tackle the online black market. We hope that responsible advertisers, search engines and hosting providers will also reflect on the ethics of supporting sites that enrich themselves by defrauding creators."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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