BY GEOFF WEISS
The music industry’s beef with YouTube has been well documented, but in a new lawsuit filed by a slew of major record labels, the defendant is a German stream ripping company called YouTube-mp3.org. Stream ripping sites like YouTube-mp3.org enable users to download MP3 audio files from streaming YouTube videos.
The copyright suit was filed today in California federal court by the recording industry’s three major labels—Universal, Warner, and Sony— as well as other labels, according to Billboard. “Tens or even hundreds of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month,” according to the suit. YouTube-mp3.org is believed to be run by a German man named Philip Matesanz and accounts for tens of millions of users and 40 percent of all stream ripping worldwide, according to the plaintiffs.
Each of the aforementioned labels is seeking $150,000 for each song that has been illegally downloaded. YouTube is not named as a party in the lawsuit, Billboard notes.
But a rise in stream ripping isn’t the recording industry’s only problem with YouTube. The three major labels are reportedly banning together to ask the federal government to change the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which states that platforms like YouTube aren’t necessarily liable for any copyrighted content that they happen to host. And this is a case that is being publicly supported by many of the world’s top artists.
In response, YouTube says that its automated Content ID system, which tracks unauthorized content and lets copyright holders either monetize or take down offending videos, is responsible for 99.5 percent of all claims related to music.