With the availability of YouTube to so many people around the world, users can gain access to millions of music videos from different artists to listen to them. If you happen to like a song, and want to take it with you for free, there are online services available that rip the video to an MP3, instantly turning it into a music file that you can listen to whenever you want.
Recording companies are very much aware of this scenario, and they're not happy about it. As a course of action to prevent this, the world's largest record labels - Sony, Warner Bros, and Universal - have filed a case against YouTube ripping website YouTube-mp3.org, and its German operator Philip Matesanz.
The labels claim that with the 60 million unique monthly users of the ripping website, "tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month." They are now seeking $150,000 per alleged act of piracy, as well as a call to the court to stop web hosts as well as advertisers from enabling access to YouTube-MP3.org, according to a report by BBC News.
A portion of the complaint reads:
YTMP3 [Youtube to MP3] directly infringes plaintiff's sound recordings. It also provides the site and facilities and means for its users to engage in copyright infringement, while profiting from the infringement. YTMP3 also materially contributes to the infringement by its users, of which it has knowledge.
The evidence presented includes names of more than 300 songs that the labels allege to have been converted and downloaded by users of the ripping service. They include Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," Sia's "Chandelier," James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," Pitbull's "Timber," and Owl City's "Fireflies," among many others.
The CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Cary Sherman, offered a few words regarding the complaint. He said:
"This site is raking in millions on the backs of artists, songwriters and labels. We are doing our part, but everyone in the music ecosystem who says they believe that artists should be compensated for their work has a role to play. It should not be so easy to engage in this activity in the first place, and no stream ripping site should appear at the top of any search result or app chart".
Geoff Taylor, CEO of the British Phonographic Industry stated, "It's time to stop illegal sites like this building huge fortunes by ripping off artists and labels."
"We hope that responsible advertisers, search engines and hosting providers will also reflect on the ethics of supporting sites that enrich themselves by defrauding creators," he concluded.
The defendant has yet to respond to the allegations made.