The music industry has pushed for site blocking measures around the world, with quite a bit of success.
Among the main targets are popular stream-ripping services. This includes Yout.com, which is operated by the American developer Johnathan Nader.
Unlike many of his peers, Nader isn’t simply taking these blocking orders lying down. On the contrary, where possible, he actively challenges them in court, as we’ve seen in Denmark, Spain, and Brazil.
The Brazilian appeal was an initial success as the court lifted the ISP blockade. However, this didn’t last. When the authorities officially announced that Yout.com would be criminally prosecuted, the blocking measures were reinstated.
Peru’s Stream-Ripper Blockades
In Peru, a similar issue has emerged. Last spring local ISPs were ordered to block Yout.com and other stream-ripping sites as a precautionary measure, while the authorities conducted their investigations for potential legal action against the sites.
The temporary blocking measure came at the request of the government agency INDECOPI, which works closely with rightsholder groups such as IFPI. The authorities argue that the stream-ripping sites allow users to download content from YouTube without permission.
Interestingly, the content cited in the complaint is not related to music. Instead, it lists short films such as “Hair Love” and “Almost Home.”
According to the original injunction, the blockades had to remain in place for 30 days. However, almost a year has passed since and several major Peruvian ISPs are still blocking Yout.com and other sites.
This prompted Yout.com’s operator to hire a local attorney to appeal the injunction at Peru’s Competition and Intellectual Property Court. In a ruling released a few days ago, the court clarified that there is no legal requirement for the ISPs to continue blocking the sites.
“…to date no complaint or sanctioning procedure has been initiated with respect to the works mentioned in Table No. 1; therefore, the Chamber concludes that the precautionary measure under appeal has expired,” the court’s Specialized Intellectual Property Chamber writes (translated pdf).
While this sounds like a win for Yout.com, in reality the issue is more complicated. Since the court concludes that the precautionary measure no longer applies, it can’t be appealed either.
“There is no need to rule on the appeal against the injunction granted in the First Instance, filed by Yout LLC,” the court writes.
The problem for Yout is that the ISPs are still blocking the site, even though they are not legally required to do so. The site’s attorney has reached out to both INDECOPI and the ISPs, urging them to lift the expired measures.
If the ISPs choose to keep the blockades in place, Yout can potentially file a formal complaint in court. However, that will likely take months to play out and will increase the legal bills significantly.
No Appeal Possible in Spain
In addition to the problematic situation in Peru, Yout.com also has a setback in Spain last week. The stream-ripper site is blocked there as well but this order wasn’t easy to track down.
Through the RIAA, Yout’s lawyers eventually learned that the blockade, which also targets several other stream-rippers, was ordered by a court in Barcelona following a complaint from the anti-piracy group AGEDI.
Yout then filed an official appeal at Spain’s Supreme Court. Among other things, the site objected to the fact that it wasn’t in any way involved in the blocking lawsuit.
The Supreme Court denied hearing this appeal because Yout.com is not a party to the legal procedure. That was, ironically, one of the main reasons why the appeal was filed in the first place.
According to Yout’s Spanish lawyers, there are still some legal options but they estimate the chance of successfully overturning the order at less than 1% now.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Yout’s operator indicated that he’s frustrated with all the legal roadblocks that continue to show up. However, he will continue to fight these blocking measures whenever possible.
“I’m elated: after the RIAA informed us of the legal actions and proceedings we were not privy to in other countries; Yout was able to at least show up to defend itself,” Nader tells us.
In addition to the blocking cases, Yout also filed a lawsuit against the RIAA in the United States, hoping to have the site declared legal there. That case remains ongoing.