BPI Joins RIAA’s Takedown Battle Against YouTube Downloaders

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UK music group BPI has joined the RIAA in its effort to wipe YouTube download and ripping sites from Google's search results. Using language inspired by its US counterpart, BPI repeatedly argues that Mpgun.com violates the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. While the search engine has complied with the requests, the site remains easy to find.

Late last year the RIAA started targeting YouTube ripping sites by sending relatively rare takedown requests to Google.

Instead of the usual DMCA copyright notices, the music group asked the search engine to remove various URLs for alleged violations of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

The sites in question circumvent YouTube’s rolling cipher, which is a technical protection measure that protects audio and video from being copied without permission, the RIAA argued. As such, they should be removed from Google’s search results.

Over the past months, the RIAA has ramped up its efforts, hoping to make it harder for users to find these sites. However, the YouTube rippers themselves weren’t sitting still either. They actively countered the RIAA’s notices by continuously using new URL structures.

We highlighted this development in an article late last month, describing it as a game of whack-a-mole. While the RIAA was the only player on its side, it has now found an ally in its British counterpart, the BPI.

A few days after our whack-a-mole article was published the BPI started sending similar DMCA anti-circumvention notices, targeting the same YouTube downloader the RIAA is after.

Over the past several days, the UK group has sent over a dozen notices. The requests target over a hundred URLs from Mpgun.com, which allegedly circumvents YouTube’s copyright protections.

“To our knowledge, the URLs indicated provide access to a service (and/or software) that circumvents YouTube’s rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members’ works on YouTube from unauthorised copying/downloading,” the BPI writes.

This is the same ‘rolling cipher’ the RIAA references, which is another indication that both groups work in tandem.

In fact, the entire statement above is copied verbatim from the RIAA. The BPI only changed the American ‘authorized’ to the British ‘authorised’ and corrected the RIAA’s copyrighted ‘woks’ to ‘works.’

This is the first time the BPI has sent multiple requests of this kind. When looking through the archive we did spot an older notice from October, but that was phrased differently (no cipher mention) and targeted only a single URL.

Whether the extra manpower will lead to any results has yet to be seen. With or without the BPI’s involvement, Mpgun continues to evade and bypass the takedown requests. For now, Google searches for terms such as “YouTube to MP3” and “YouTube downloader” still yield plenty of results, including Mpgun.

In fact, when searching for “MP3 and MP4 YouTube converter,” Mpgun comes up as the first result.

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