British High Court Orders ISPs to Block Multiple Stream-Ripping Sites

London, England. Photo Credit: Eva Dang

The British High Court has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block four stream-ripping websites – including Russia-based FLVTO.biz, which is also engaged in a years-running courtroom confrontation with the RIAA.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) recently announced its legal victory over the stream-ripping websites (singling out giants 2CONV.com and the aforementioned FLVTO.biz, both of which belong to Tofig Kurbanov) and, in a separate case, file-hosting service Nitroflare. Moreover, the former action is one of many suits that the music industry has pursued as of late against prominent stream-ripping platforms, which enable users to download videos’ audio.

Judge Justice Miles, of London’s High Court, ruled on both cases, per the BPI’s release, determining that “the websites use the services of internet companies (ISPs) to infringe copyright and that therefore the ISPs should block access to them.”

FLVTO.biz has attracted an annual average of 58 million UK visitors across the last three years, according to the announcement message, against a yearly average of 25 million UK visits for 2CONV.com, 1.7 million UK users per year for Flv2mp3.by, and 700,000 annual UK visitors for the fourth and final stream-ripping site in the case, H2Converter.net.

As an aside, there are presumably a larger number of FLVTO.biz and 2CONV.com visitors in the United States than in the UK, but the platforms’ owner previously said that just 10 percent of their total traffic derives from stateside users.

Nevertheless, in another testament to the depth of the ongoing crackdown on stream-ripping services, the BPI identifies said services and file-hosting sites as “the music industry’s current biggest piracy threats,” before noting that it had developed “the cases for two years, with 3,000 pages of evidence and months of negotiations with the UK’s six biggest ISPs.”

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from the rulings, however, is that Judge Miles ordered ISPs to block Nitroflare (which attracted an annual average of 3.5 million UK users throughout the last three years) despite the fact that “music only represents around 10% of all files available.”

Even so, “the site warranted being blocked because it actively encouraged illegal sharing and it was highly unlikely that the site was being used for legitimate storage on a significant scale,” the text indicates. Moving forward, with the BPI seemingly set to initiate litigation against other stream-ripping and file-sharing services yet, it’ll be worth bearing in mind this High Court justification for ordering ISPs to block Nitroflare.

The RIAA is facing a lawsuit from Hartford-based stream-ripping platform Yout, centering on YouTube’s “rolling cipher” technology, while the Google-owned video-sharing service seized the domain of another stream-ripper, Youtubeconverter.io, last month. But the latter’s owner promptly rolled out a near-identical site under a different web address.

 


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