Business News Digital Legal

Australian judge rules stream-ripping sites are involved in “industrial scale copyright infringement”

By | Published on Tuesday 4 June 2019


The Australian judge who issued a web-blocking order against stream-ripping sites Convert2mp3, Flv2mp3, Flvto and 2conv has concluded that the now blocked websites were “responsible for [the] piracy of music from music videos on an industrial scale”.

It emerged last month that the Australian music industry had successfully secured web-block injunctions – which order internet service providers to block their customers from accessing certain websites – against the four stream-ripping operations. Streaming-ripping, of course, has been the music industry’s top piracy gripe for sometime, though most web-blocks to date have tended to focus on other kinds of online infringement, especially file-sharing.

The actual judgement that orders the web-blocks against Convert2mp3, Flv2mp3, Flvto and 2conv has now been published. In it the judge writes “a quick inspection of the websites shows self-evidently that the online locations are specifically intended to facilitate the copying of soundtracks by members of the public from YouTube. It is likely that this is indeed their exclusive purpose and effect, and they do so flagrantly”.

The operators of stream-ripping platforms usually argue that their websites are not liable for copyright infringement – even if they are used to make infringing copies – because they have legitimate and illegitimate uses. The judge notes how, in its FAQs, insists it is legal, presumably based on this argument.

But, the judge then adds, “the terms and conditions of use for the websites include a warranty by each user that they have permission from the owner of the copyright to copy the soundtrack”. Few will read the terms, of course, so claiming to be legal in the FAQs without drawing the user’s attention to their copyright obligations in the terms “merely serves to underscore the dishonesty of the website operators”.

Concluding, the judge wrote: “It is plain that these websites are involved in industrial scale copyright infringement. The case for an injunction is overwhelming”.