The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI) and other lobbying bodies that represent the global record industry are suing the website YouTube-MP3 (YTMP3) in the US for allegedly facilitating millions of dollars of copyright infringement. YouTube-mp3.org was the creation of young German teen Philip Matesanz. He launched the site from a room in his parent’s home after finding a flaw in YouTube that allowed MP3s to be created from YouTube.

YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3’s users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3’s servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones. 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 jeopardize this.

YouTube-mp3’s copyright infringement activities have been massive in scope, according to the filed complaint. Plaintiffs allege that the website has millions of users and is responsible for 40 percent of the total global copyright infringement stemming from music ripped from YouTube video tracks. They also cite a recent survey showing that 57 million people in the United States are engaged in the infringement of copyright-protected sound recordings using unauthorized online services. The plaintiffs note that stream ripping services such as YouTube-mp3 are a “major threat to the music industry” and allege that as many as hundreds of millions of music tracks are illegally downloaded through such stream ripping services on a monthly basis. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, instances of unauthorized stream ripping in the U.S. increased by 50 percent. Defendants are depriving Plaintiffs and their recording artists of the fruits of their labor, Defendants are profiting from the operation of the YTMP3 website. Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, Defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for Defendants.

It’s time to stop illegal sites like these 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. YouTube-MP3 is being sued for direct, contributory, vicarious and inducement of copyright infringement, plus circumvention of technological measures. This is a coordinated action to protect the rights of artists and labels from the blatant infringements of YouTube-mp3, the world’s single-largest ‘stream ripping’ site.

Keywords: Copyright Infringement, Music Industry, You Tube, You Tube-mp3, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)