Every week, millions of Internet users get their musical fix from service like Spotify and iTunes. However, a growing number see YouTube as their preferred content platform.
In theory, labels and artists should get paid for every licensed stream accessed on YouTube but there are ways to disrupt that business model. So-called ‘YouTube-ripping’ services allow people to extract MP3 audio files from YouTube videos and store them on their local machines. This is a thorn in the side of recording labels seeking to extract every last penny from their content.
In an effort to bring an end to this activity, the major labels of the RIAA in the US and BPI in the UK have been putting YouTube-ripping sites under pressure. Former market leader YouTube-MP3 was their most significant target, a site that eventually shut down following a settlement with the labels. Now there’s news of fresh action against another player.
MP3Fiber allowed users to download MP3 audio from several platforms including YouTube, SoundCloud and Daily Motion. However, following recent threats from the RIAA, the site has decided to call it a day.
After launching an investigation against MP3Fiber, the RIAA asked domain privacy service DomainsByProxy to hand over the personal details of the site’s operator. TF is informed that the company responded by giving the RIAA what it wanted, in the absence of a court order. It did inform MP3Fiber that it had cooperated with the music group but that will probably be of little comfort to others using this supposed privacy service.
After obtaining his details, the RIAA then contacted the operator of the site, who lives in Canada. TF understands that due to the blank media levy in Canada, which reimburses the labels for private copying, the site believed it was operating legally. However, the RIAA insisted that since the MP3Fiber site was accessible in the US, this defense wouldn’t apply south of the border.
The operator was also reminded of the YouTube-MP3 case and another involving a pair of Russian-based ripping sites. With no desire to endure any legal headaches with the RIAA, MP3Fiber’s operator took the decision to close down the service.
“This site was actually run as a hobby. We spent more on servers then we ever made so did not want to get into any legal battles. We pretty much gave in to their demands without too many other thoughts,” he told TF.
Action against YouTube-ripping sites has stepped up in 2018. In addition to the pressure on MP3Fiber and Russian sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, June saw the closure of Pickvideo.net, Video-download.co and EasyLoad.co. All three are believed to have ended their activities following threats from the RIAA.