So far this year, multiple piracy websites have gone down as part of a large-scale crackdown from the music industry.
Thanks to aggressive subpoenas from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), YouTubNow, a self-described “powerful” YouTube stream-ripper, has indefinitely closed its doors. But that’s just one theater in a broader war, one that also includes long-running litigation against ISPs.
In a surprise agreement with the RIAA, Cox Communications agreed to hand over the personal information of 2,793 pirating business subscribers. This includes the names, payment information, and addresses of business subscribers who have apparently downloaded illegal content. Only one business has challenged the ruling – a hospital and medical care facility.
Then, teaming up with the IFPI and Music Canada, the RIAA promptly shut down notorious pirate cyberlocker DBRee. The agreement forced the domain’s unnamed owner to write on his website,
“Making available copyright-protected music on the internet without authorization from the copyright holder is illegal. Willful, commercial scale copyright infringement could lead to a criminal conviction. Illegal music services exploit the work of artists and pay nothing to those creating and investing in music.”
Then, obtaining more subpoenas against NameCheap and Cloudflare, the industry successfully took down two music piracy websites – Mixstep and NoFile.
Yet, not everything has gone as well as the industry has hoped for.
Despite obtaining subpoenas, the RIAA remains locked in a fierce battle against Y2Mate, one of the world’s largest stream-rippers. The powerful organization also hopes American courts will rule against Russian stream-ripper FLVTO and its sister site, 2Conv, but that remains a steep uphill climb.
Now, a global organization has aided efforts to take down even more illegal websites.
Will a database help identify – and take down – suspected pirates?
Over in Australia, the music industry – led by Warner, Sony, and Universal Music – successfully won a major injunction. Two months ago, a federal judge issued a broad ruling, demanding major Australian ISPs to block stream-rippers.
According to Music Rights Australia (MRA), forced site-blocking remains a viable anti-piracy strategy.
“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.”
All of those efforts are now being complemented by a worldwide blacklist.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – part of the United Nations – has launched a new database. Dubbed Building Respect for Intellectual Property (or BRIP, for short), UN Member States will promptly report “problematic sites.” After looking at the database, advertisers may choose to block these “bad” websites.
WIPO first introduced the idea of a global anti-piracy database in 2017.
Explaining the purpose of BRIP, WIPO wrote,
“The BRIP Database is now open for the acceptance of Authorized Contributors from WIPO Member States and Authorized Users from the advertising sector.
“It comprises a secure, access-controlled online platform, to which authorized agencies in WIPO Member States may upload lists of websites which deliberately facilitate the infringement of copyright.”
In short, WIPO hopes BRIP will cut pirate sites’ revenue. The organization writes that this will “reduce the flow of money to illegal website operators.” In addition, brands no longer risk “tarnishment.” Legitimate advertising also won’t appear “illegally” on websites. This, writes WIPO, confuses consumers.
Member States will assign their own submitters who will add pirate websites to BRIP. AGCOM, an Italian telecom regulator, and KCOPA, a Korean copyright protection agency, tested the database prior to its launch.
Concluding its statement promoting BRIP, the WIPO wrote,
“The project responds to increased interest among policy-makers in methods of building respect for intellectual property which rely on voluntary cooperation, rather than on judicial or other compulsory measures.”
Yet, the organization conceded that the possibility for failure still exists. Member States must participate to ensure BRIP’s viability.
“Its success will, however, depend on the extent to which it is adopted by Member State agencies and the advertising sector.”
Featured image by Steven Parkinson (CC by 2.0).