London and Washington, DC, 26th September 2016 – Organisations representing record companies in the US and UK took legal action today against Youtube-mp3.org, the world’s largest site dedicated to offering illegally “stream ripped” music. Both the site and its operator have generated millions of dollars without paying any remuneration to artists and rights holders. The activities also breach YouTube’s Terms of Service.
Stream ripping is the process of ‘ripping’ or creating a downloadable file from content that is available to stream online. It is often done with music videos, to create copies of tracks that can be downloaded and listened to offline or on other devices.
IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said: “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.
“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, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (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.”
Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, 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.”
Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN (Worldwide Independent Network) & AIM (Association for Independent Music) endorsed the action, adding: “Stream ripping is not a victimless crime, it involves ripping off the artists and companies who invest their time and money into making music for the public to enjoy. The more stream ripping takes place, the less investment into music will be made to the ultimate detriment of music fans.”
Richard Burgess, CEO of A2IM, representing US independent record labels said: “Stream ripping is yet another illegal activity that deprives artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels of their rightful revenues and their ability to make a living. It must be stopped immediately.”
In the US, legal proceedings were filed in federal court in California against the site and its operator, Philip Matesanz, for flagrantly violating copyrights. In the UK, the BPI, representing UK record labels, put the stream ripping site on formal notice of intended legal action if it does not cease infringing.
Stream ripping is the fastest growing form of music piracy globally and has now replaced other forms of downloading as the most prevalent form of online music piracy. Research published earlier this month by IFPI and Ipsos finds that stream ripping sites are operating on a massive scale, with 49 per cent of all 16-24 year olds engaged in the activity, according to Ipsos.
YouTube-mp3.org is the largest stream-ripping site with more than 60 million unique users per month. Based in Germany, the site has a global user base and provides a simple way of creating an audio file from a YouTube video.
Despite paying no money to the creators or owners of music, stream ripping sites are using the high levels of traffic they generate to make money from advertising. The prominently placed adverts on YouTube-MP3, often from major brands, are estimated to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars per month for YouTube-mp3.
For further information please contact:
IFPI: Adrian Strain [email protected], John Blewett [email protected]
+44 (0)20 7878 7939 / 7935
BPI: Gennaro Castaldo, [email protected]
+44 (0)20 7803 1326 / +44 (0)7801 194 139
RIAA: Jonathan Lamy, [email protected], Cara Duckworth, [email protected]
Notes to editors:
IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 60 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 57 countries. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all markets where its members operate.
The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world, investing in great artists to help them reach their potential and connect to their fans. Nearly 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States is created, manufactured or distributed by RIAA members.
About the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Promoting British Music
The BPI was formed in 1973 as a representative voice of the UK recorded music business. As a trade association it promotes recorded music in the UK and worldwide, including through its overseas trade missions and the Music Export Growth Scheme, and also champions the rights and interests of a broad range of members through its content protection work. Its membership is made up of over 370 independent music labels and the UK’s three major record companies, which in 2015 collectively accounted for over 80 per cent of the recorded music consumed in the UK – the world’s third largest music market – and whose artists claimed around one in every six albums sold around the world.