With so many YouTube to MP3 stream rippers, MP3 download, and torrent sites freely available, will the music industry ever win the war against piracy?
Last year, the US government published a list of the top MP3 download, YouTube to MP3, and torrent sites. Underscoring the difficulty in taking down these websites, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) may have inadvertently given piracy a boost.
This year, the RIAA has published their list of “notorious markets” online. As with the USTR last year, it may have given piracy another major boost.
The RIAA celebrates small victories but admits that the battle against is far from over.
In a letter to the USTR, the RIAA proudly celebrated a recent victory.
Several weeks ago, following a lengthy legal battle, the largest YouTube to MP3 stream ripping site shut down. Its owner accepted full responsibility for copyright infringement.
The RIAA boasted that the shutdown represented a “significant turnover with respect to sites engaged in stream ripping.”
The organization also wrote about popular MP3 download sites having shut down. Emp3world, AudioCastle, Viperial, AlbumKings and im1music closed their doors. These websites used the Sharebeast cyberlocker platform to host unlicensed MP3 files. Its owner pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement.
Despite their recent victories, however, the RIAA admitted that it still faces an uphill battle against piracy.
Following YouTube-mp3.org’s closure, the RIAA wrote,
“Unfortunately, several other stream-ripping sites have “doubled down” and carry on in this illegal behavior.”
Speaking about the difficulty in completely closing MP3 download sites, the RIAA stated,
“A challenge we face is that the sites that have shut down can reappear as quickly as they disappeared.
“In addition, we often see “copycat” infringing services pop us as well.”
Below are the websites that the RIAA has identified in their “Notorious Markets” report.
2017’s Largest YouTube to MP3 Stream Rippers
MP3Juices.cc ranked as one of the most popular YouTube to MP3 stream rippers. The website has registered 1.7 billion visits in the past year.
As with most pirate sites, MP3Juices uses CloudFlare to obscure its hosting provider. According to the RIAA, it makes revenue from advertising.
The organization notes,
“Mp3juices utilizes a separate service as the backend for its distribution of mp3 downloads from of it service. When users request an mp3 download, mp3juices utilizes a separate site, not otherwise publically accessible, to access and present the file for download. This site mjcdn.cc has the same whois registrar and privacy proxy service and both use Cloudflare as a reverse proxy service masking the true location of the hosting service. The last publicly available whois information identified the operator as an individual in Turkey”
With a global Alexa ranking of 755, Convert2mp3.net has registered 2.3 billion visits in the past year. It also makes revenue primarily from advertising.
Unlike other sites, mobile users prefer using Convert2mp3.
Writing about the website, the RIAA stated,
“Convert2mp3 continues to be a highly popular site. Although it appears to have taken some steps to limited ripping using desktop browsers, the site still provides ripping and downloads of all popular content for users accessing the site through a mobile device. Since the bulk of traffic going to the sites comes from mobile users the disruption of ripping from desktop devices has had little impact on the overall popularity of the site.”
Arguably one of the most popular YouTube to MP3 alternatives, Savefrom.net has a global Alexa ranking of 201.
In the past year, the site has registered 2.7 billion visits. It also uses UK-based provider Hosting Services to serve stream ripping tools.
Savefrom.net also makes money from advertising and software that performs YouTube to MP3 conversions on desktops.
The RIAA writes,
With a global Alexa ranking of 3020, YouTube2Mp3 (ytmp3.cc) uses the same registrar, privacy proxy service, and reverse proxy as MP3Juices.cc. It also makes money from advertising.
Noting the similarities between YouTube2MP3 and MP3Juices, the RIAA stated,
“Like mp3juices, youtube2mp3 uses a separate backend to actually copy, convert and deliver the download file to the uses. Content for this site is delivered from a site that is not publically accessible – ymcdn.cc – that operates from the same IP address as mjcdn.cc, the site that delivers downloads for mp3juices. Mp3juices and its backend djcnd.cc and youtube2mp3 and its backend, mjcdn.cc, all use the same registrar, privacy proxy service and the reverse proxy to hide the true identity of the operator and the location of the hosting provider.”
Formerly youtubeinmp3.com, Convertmp3.io has registered 1.5 billion visits combined to its two domains.
The RIAA wrote,
“Convertmp3 provides easy access to downloadable mp3 files for YouTube music videos. The conversion and distribution of downloads appears to come directly from convermp3 servers.”
6. FLVTO and 2Conv
According to the RIAA, a single individual from Russia owns and operates Flvto.biz and 2conv.com. Combined, both domains have registered almost 1 billion visits.
The organization notes,
“Flvto.biz and 2Conv are essentially the same service operating from different frontend domains. They are operated by the same individual in Russia, and serve downloads of converted YouTube videos to users as mp3 audio files from the same servers in Germany. In addition to converting YouTube links that users copy and paste into the conversion bar, both sites also offer up a list of the most popular YouTube videos being converted. All the user needs to do is to click on a ‘convert to mp3’ button.”
2017’s Top MP3 Download Sites
Despite falling digital download revenue across the music industry, newalbumreleases.net has registered nearly 80 million visits in the past year. Using a hosting provider based in the Czech Republic, Sergey Kobilin, a Russian citizen, operates the site.
Speaking about the ineffectiveness of DMCA takedown notices, the RIAA writes,
“Newalbumreleases makes available a substantial library of newly-released popular music content, as well as albums not yet commercially released. The site features the most recently uploaded albums on the home page using album artwork. In addition it organizes earlier posts by genre under menu tabs for Rock, Pop, Metal, etc. The home page also offers a search capability for content by artist or title. The site hosts its content on cyberlockers and provides users with links to services like Rapidgator.net and Hitfile.net from where the files are available for download. All of the files appear to have been uploaded to the cyberlocker sites by Newalbumreleases as the download files usually include “newalbumreleases” in the file name. As the uploaders they are direct infringers. Takedown notices sent by rights holders to this site are ineffective.”
Registered to a Ukrainian citizen in Kiev, 8.4 million visitors have visited both rnbxclusive.top and its former domain, rnbxclusive.me.
Writing how the site uses “problematic” cyberlockers, the RIAA states,
“Rnbxclusive is a popular Ukrainian based service providing downloads for popular RnB and Hip-hop recordings, both full albums and popular tracks for free download. The sites uses various problematic cyberlockers to host and distribute the files, zippyshare, uploaded, and others.”
Using a Ukrainian hosting provider, DailyNewJams (DNJ.to) provides mainly American music. It has a global Alexa ranking of 8,733 with over 8.4 million combined visits in the past year.
Noting that the same person may operate a Ukraining cyberlocker to host the illegal MP3s, the organization states,
“DailyNewJams is another popular Ukrainian-based service that provides free downloads of a broad range of popular American music. The sites offers downloads through a Ukrainian cyberlocker, OBCDrive that shares the same IP address as DNJ.to. Thus it appears that the site and the cyberlocker distributing the music are operated by the same person or entity.”
2017’s Top Torrent Sites
1. The Pirate Bay
Despite repeated attempts to take down the world’s top torrent site, The Pirate Bay is still up and running.
In the past year, TPB has registered over 3.26 billion visits. It also has a global Alexa ranking of 90.
Writing about the site’s recovery since police raids, the organization notes,
“Thepiratebay has fully recovered from raids by Swedish police in Stockholm in early December 2014, shut the site down for a period of time. It has now reestablished itself as the single most popular bittorrent index site in the world. This is despite the fact that courts in a multitude of countries around the world (including: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK) have issued orders blocking access to the site in their jurisdictions. The world’s most popular and newly released films and vast catalogues of music can be downloaded via the site. The site make no pretense of legitimacy and fails to respond to any take down notices and has previously ridiculed those who have sent them such notices.”
The RIAA also noted the following popular torrent sites:
Will music piracy ever end?
Despite repeated DMCA takedown notices, most piracy sites simply ignore them.
Yet, what attracts website owners to willingly engage in criminal copyright infringement, knowing the costly legal penalties they entail?
Thanks to “the dynamic and low cost nature of the internet,” writes the RIAA. The organization also notes that many infringing sites use proxy services like CloudFlare and protected domain name registration.
You can check out the complete report on TorrentFreak here.
Image by Pascal (CC by 2.0)