DOJ shutters Sharebeast, the largest American music-sharing website

It's the biggest piracy site takedown since Megaupload.

Feb 29, 2020, 7:44 pm*

Tech

Josh Katzowitz 

Josh Katzowitz

The American government has shut down Sharebeast, the largest U.S.-based music-sharing website, following a torrent of piracy complaints from the music industry.

The website now displays an FBI anti-piracy warning.

Albumjams.com, a site affiliated with Sharebeast, displays the same message.

The Recording Industry Association of America claimed that it had filed complaints about more than 100,000 illegally shared files. The industry group accused Sharebeast and its affiliated sites of facilitating “the distribution of a massive library of popular albums and tracks,” and said it had “been particularly problematic in its distribution of pre-release leaks of thousands of songs.”

Sharebeast made news most recently for reportedly hosting Kanye West‘s album SWISH after it leaked in May. In addition to music, the site offered pirated TV shows and illegally streamed the 2014 World Cup.

The site’s shuttering represents the U.S. government’s largest file-sharing site takedown since federal authorities closed Megaupload in 2012.

“This is a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services,” RIAA Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement. “Sharebeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace.

“Millions of users accessed songs from Sharebeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels and others who created the music,” Sherman continued. “We are grateful to the FBI and the Department of Justice for its strong stand against Sharebeast and for recognizing that these types of illicit sites wreak major damage on the music community and hinder fans’ legitimate listening options.”

Photo via auroramixer/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Sep 15, 2015, 1:26 pm