As the Australian Music Industry Successfully Bans Stream-Rippers, the RIAA Takes Down YouTubNow

Several weeks ago, a federal court granted the RIAA subpoenas to de-anonymize Cloudflare clients.

The subpoenas grant the music organization the authority to force Cloudflare to hand over contact information for a number of clients.   This includes full names, IP addresses, personal e-mail addresses, and all other identifying information of those involved in copyright infringement activities.

Now, the RIAA has obtained a brand-new subpoena.  This time, against a notorious YouTube stream-ripper.  And, the move appears to have worked.

The RIAA defeats YouTubNow with just a subpoena.

According to YouTubNow’s webpage, the stream-ripper allows users to quickly and easily download their favorite music.

YouTubNow is a powerful service that allows you to find and download your favorite YouTube videos as well as music tracks quickly, easily, and absolutely for free.

Proudly boasting about its ‘powerful’ service, the stream-ripper adds it remains an “excellent YouTube to MP3 downloader, as it makes any soundtrack a separate audio file tailored especially for you.”

Not exactly something the RIAA wants to hear.

To force the accredited domain registrar to hand over YouTubNow’s personal information, the RIAA filed a subpoena request against NameCheap at a federal court in Columbia.

A letter sent to the registrar reads,

We believe your service is hosting [YouTubNow] on its network.

The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use, including without limitation those referenced at the URL below.

The RIAA had only listed three infringing URLs – Gloria Estefan’s ‘Falling In Love (Uh-Oh),’ Robert Palmer’s ‘I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On,’ and Nu Schooz’s ‘I Can’t Wait.’

The letter continues,

The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identity of the individual assigned to this website who has induced the infringement of, and has directly engaged in the infringement of, our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorization.

At this stage, it remains unclear whether NameCheap will successfully hand over YouTubNow’s owner information to the music organization.  After all, the stream-ripping service doesn’t technically offer music to users.  The stream-ripper also denies any responsibility for what users do on its site.

A warning on its page reads,

YouTubNow is a free online service that backs up YouTube content for further personal use and storage.  The service doesn’t take any responsibility for copyright infringement caused by separate users.

The subpoena has successfully worked, though, as YouTubNow has since gone down.  Its owner may have quickly shut down its service to avoid legal confrontations with the RIAA.

The music industry v. stream-ripping.

The RIAA’s war against stream-ripping, however, seems limited only to the US.

So far, the major music organization remains in an increasingly bitter legal battle with Russian stream-ripper and  Its war against Cloudflare and NameCheap only lists a handful of direct MP3 download sites and a few YouTube to MP3 stream-ripping services.

Yet, the music organization’s battle against these services underscores the global effort to shut down all stream-rippers by any means necessary.  Even if that includes outright forcing ISPs to block users’ internet access.

In Australia, for example, Federal Court judge Justice Parram has recently issued a broad ruling.  Siding with Sony, Warner, and Universal Music alongside the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) and Music Rights Australia (MRA), Parram has granted the music industry desperately-needed court orders demanding local ISPs outright ban stream-ripping sites.  Targets include FLV2MP3, 2Conv, Convert2MP3, and FLVTO.

The federal judge has granted the industry the ability to demand that Telstra, Foxtel, Optus, TPG, and Vodafone “take reasonable steps” to prevent access to multiple stream-rippers across seven domain names.

An MRA spokesperson had previously explained that site-blocking has proven an “effective” strategy against music piracy.

These no-fault injunctions are used to block the worst of the illegal sites which undermine the local and international music industry.

We use this effective and efficient no-fault remedy to block the illegal sites which undermine the many licensed online services which give music fans the music they love where, when, and how they want to hear it.”

Yet, the global music industry still has a long way to go.  As previously seen with the death and subsequent ‘rise’ of major torrenting websites, the industry may ultimately engage in a losing game of whack-a-mole with stream-ripping services.


Featured image by Descrier (CC by 2.0).