The world’s biggest record labels are suing a website that allows users to download the audio from YouTube music videos.
Universal, Sony, Warner Bros and others launched legal action against the German operator of YouTube-mp3.org in a federal court in Los Angeles. They are seeking damages from the company and its owner that include $150,000 for every alleged instance of piracy. The defendants have yet to respond to the claims.
According to the legal papers, users can turn YouTube videos into permanent audio files and store them on their computer with a few simple mouse clicks. The record labels claim that “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month” and that YouTube-mp3.org is the “chief offender”, with more than 60 million users per month.
“Stream ripping has become a major threat to the music industry, functioning as an unlawful substitute for the purchase of recorded music and the purchase of subscriptions to authorised streaming services,” the labels said.
As well as suing for damages, the music industry is asking for a court order that would forbid web hosts, advertisers and other third parties from facilitating access to youtube-mp3.org.