RIAA Targets Foreign Music Download Portals

The RIAA has obtained subpoenas from the U.S. District Court of Columbia ordering WHOIS privacy services to hand over the IP and email addresses and all other identifying information related to the operators of three file-sharing sites. The websites in question are targeted at Dutch and Spanish language audiences, suggesting that the RIAA is assisting foreign anti-piracy groups in local investigations.

The RIAA’s budget may have been slashed in half in two years, but they have certainly not halted their anti-piracy efforts.

This month alone the RIAA asked Google to remove 836,409 webpages from its search index. And that’s not all.

The music industry group is also targeting the owners of several music download sites through their WHOIS privacy services. Site owners use these private domain registration services to hide their personal information from the public, but this anonymity only goes so far.

The RIAA asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to subpoena the privacy protection services of three music download sites and these requests were recently granted.

The targeted sites are Mimp3.net, Descargaralbum.com and Jou-site.me. The first two allow users to download music files from external sites and are particularly popular in Latin America. Jou-site.me is a small private BitTorrent tracker for Dutch users, which also links to movies and games.

In their letter to the WHOIS protection services (WhoisGuard, Protected Domain Services and GKG.net) the RIAA claims that the sites in question are infringing on the copyrights of many artists.

“We believe your service is hosting the above-referenced website on its network. This website offers direct links to files containing sound recordings for other users to download by such artists as P!nk, Micheal Jackson, Carly Rae Jensen and Linkin Park,” the RIAA writes (2, 3).

“As stated in the attached subpoena, you are required to disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringer. This would include the individual’s IP-address and e-mail address,” the RIAA adds.

The RIAA goes even further than the subpoena states by asking the services to “disable access” to the infringing files, if that’s even possible.

“We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this [linking to music] unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the infringing files from the system, or that you disable access to the infringing files, and that you inform the site operator of the illegality or his or her conduct.”

Since the three sites are catering to a foreign audience we assume that the RIAA is gathering the information to assist other anti-piracy groups, such as BREIN in the Netherlands.

This is not the first time the RIAA has asked WhoisGuard and others to expose the owners of file-sharing sites. BitSnoop and TorrentHound were also targeted in the past, but as far as we know the site owners haven’t been contacted by the music group.

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