MusicMonster, a Notorious Stream Ripper, Declared Illegal

MusicMonster argued that it merely provided a private copying service for song downloads.  A German high court disagreed.

Among stream rippers, MusicMonster is a very curious service.

The music service scans active internet radio streams, searching for the tracks users ask for.  After finding the specific song stream, MusicMonster records it.  Then, the service makes the selected track available for users to download in MP3.  As with most notorious pirating websites, MusicMonster primarily makes money from advertising.

Globally, the German music service doesn’t have a strong following just yet.  In Germany, MusicMonster sits at #27,049 among all websites visited.

Now, before the service could gain more traction, one major music label has managed to halt this stream ripper.

Taking on a monster.

On its website, MusicMonster loves bragging about its ability to offer users what they ‘deserve.’

The ability to save music (eg: analog recording) is a paid right.  The customer has already paid for it.

Using an argument often used by illegal copyright circumvention services and apps, MusicMonster claims it has defended the rights of music fans.

If you have not noticed this in recent years, then the music industry has received payments without providing anything in return.  Now this consideration will be used by you.  The MP3 music file you have recorded and created is not a copy of the original piece of music, but an independent legal object.

The music industry didn’t buy the pirating service’s arguments.

So, Sony Music took MusicMonster to court in Germany.

The major music label won a partial victory in its initial case against the pirating service in September 2017.

The Munich Regional Court ruled against MusicMonster, labeling the service a “creator of copies.”  Stream-ripping, the court wrote, represents a clear violation of labels’ rights.

MusicMonster disagreed, filing an appeal.  Stream-ripping shouldn’t count as a violation.  To make money, the service had relied on the European Union’s private copying exception rule.  This exception means users no longer need copyright owners’ permission to copy a work for private use.  The private copying exception applies to 26 member States, including Germany, and excluding Ireland and the UK.

Yet, the courts didn’t buy the music service’s argument.

Last week, the Higher Regional Court of Munich ruled against MusicMonster.  The site’s owners and operators couldn’t rely on the private copying exception.  Thus, the service was declared unlicensed and illegal.

Germany’s Federal Music Industry Association (BMVI) praised the ruling.

Dr. Florian Drücke, BVMI’s Managing Director, said,

This is a very important decision that contributes further clarification.

The industry will continue to be consistent against such brazen business models that unfairly interfere with the legal digital market, mislead consumers, and disregard the rights of artists and their partners.

The stream ripper, however, continues to freely operate, both in the country and around the world.


Featured image by Descrier (CC by 2.0).