Stream-Ripper Yout Appeals RIAA Defamation and DMCA Lawsuit Dismissal

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Photo Credit: David Veksler

Last month, a judge dismissed the much-publicized lawsuit filed against the RIAA by stream-ripping platform Yout. Now, the Hartford-based plaintiff is officially appealing.

Yout’s latest move in the years-long legal battle just recently came to light via court documents, including a notice of appeal. The underlying dispute entered the media spotlight two years back, when Yout first sued the RIAA for defamation per se as well as violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). (The initial complaint was actually submitted two years ago to the day, on October 25th, 2020.)

At the time, the RIAA was cracking down on several high-profile stream-ripping platforms, which enable users to download YouTube videos’ audio. Amid the ongoing effort to put stream-rippers out of commission, the industry organization sent multiple Yout takedown requests to Google, which proceeded to delist the service in question from results pages.

The plaintiff alleged, among other things, that said requests had violated the DMCA’s “misrepresentations” section because Yout, contrary to the claims within the requests, hadn’t circumvented YouTube’s antipiracy measures (and specifically the Google subsidiary’s “rolling cipher” technology) at all.

In brief, Yout instead argued that it had simply allowed users to take advantage of a widely available (via web browsers) means of obtaining the audio from videos. Upon dismissing this element of the complaint, however, the court relayed that the takedown notices in question “are incapable of being misrepresentations under section 512.”

“Although the circumvention notices sent by the RIAA superficially resemble take down notices under section 512(c),” the relevant portion of the dismissal reads, “the notices do not identify any copyrighted works and accordingly are incapable of being misrepresentations under section 512.”

Regarding the defamation side of its suit, the plaintiff claimed that the RIAA had caused “third parties to believe Yout engaged and continues to engage in illegal and unlawful conduct.” But the court rejected this component of the case because it also refuted Yout’s argument that it hadn’t in fact violated the DMCA.

“Yout has not plausibly pled that its software does not violate section 1201 of the DMCA…the statements made by the RIAA in its take down notices are plausibly not false,” the presiding judge wrote.

It’ll be worth seeing how the appeal plays out in the approaching months, and similarly, Russia-based stream-ripper has for several years been engaged in an RIAA legal dispute of its own (albeit as a defendant). In late March, FLVTO and its owner, Tofig Kurbanov, appealed a federal judge’s $83 million damages verdict.