Piracy comes in many ways and forms, and one of the most popular one includes ripping content directly from YouTube, by far the most popular video service on the Internet. Stealing content uploaded to YouTube isn't anything new and numerous illegal websites have been earning a pretty penny for years for offering such services. The largest one among them is YouTube-mp3.org which was allegedly responsible for almost one-fifth of all music piracy in 2015, Music Business Worldwide reports. Well, the reign of that site may soon come to an end as major music labels including Sony, Universal, and Warner just sued it for a sum that's practically impossible to pay as they're asking for $150,000 per violation, i.e. illegal download. The lawsuit was filed with the US District Court in California this Monday and claims that the aforementioned ripping website allows for hundreds of millions of illegal downloads on a monthly basis, citing investigation whose findings suggest that YouTube-mp3.org has around 60 million active users.
Of course, the difference between playing content on YouTube and using a third-party solution to download it for local reproduction lies in the fact that YouTube pays its artists based on the number of views they get. Viewing or listening to downloaded content locally means artists don't get compensated, rendering this activity illegal. As ripping content from YouTube is actually relatively easy, the entire ordeal just adds to the already high tensions between the popular video service and artists which already aren't happy with the royalties they're receiving and are asking for better compensation and better security measures from YouTube. Naturally, that's easier said than done.
Not surprisingly, the German company PMD Technologie UG which owns YouTube-mp3.org didn't comment on the lawsuit filed against it and it remains to be seen how this entire ordeal will turn out. The fact that plaintiffs are suing from the US shouldn't be a huge problem as evidenced by the recent arrest and upcoming extradition of Kickass Torrents' owner Artem Vaulin in Poland.
If successful, the lawsuit is likely to result in a number of smaller ripping sites shutting down voluntarily out of fear of getting sued. Given the fact that these websites are mostly ad-supported, it isn't outrageous to presume that some owners will simply decide they won't risk losing everything just to continue their illegal activities. It's worth noting that this lawsuit also indirectly puts pressure on Google as YouTube ripping sites like YouTube-mp3.org are still quite easy to find using the tech giant's search engine.