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Labels insist Russian stream-ripping sites can be sued in America

By | Published on Monday 22 October 2018


The major record companies have insisted that the American courts have jurisdiction to hear a copyright infringement case against two stream-ripping sites based in Russia.

Stream-ripping remains at the top of the music industry’s piracy gripe list. A number of sites that allow people to turn temporary streams into permanent downloads have now shut down because of legal action – or the threat of legal action – from the music industry, Germany-based YouTube-MP3 being the highest profile closure to date. However, there are plenty of other sites offering the same service, so the lawsuits continue to be filed.

Russia-based and were sued by the American record industry in the US courts back in August. The man behind the two services then filed a motion to have the case dismissed on the basis the US courts didn’t have jurisdiction. He argued that the two sites are entirely managed from Russia and that less than 6% of users are from the US.

However, the Recording Industry Association Of America has now responded, insisting the American courts do have jurisdiction. In a court filing published by Torrentfreak, it argues that 31 million Americans have used the site more 96 million times. Plus, the RIAA claims, at various points and have used US-based servers, domain registrars and advertising networks.

The labels have specifically sued in Virginia, and the RIAA adds that the two stream-ripping sites have been used by 542,000 people in that state alone. And, the labels allege, until recently and used servers based in that state.

The Russian operator of the sites has asked – should his request for outright dismissal be denied – that the case be shifted over to the Californian courts, on the basis the labels have bases in that state and that fighting the litigation there would be easier.

The labels add: “Wherever the case is held, there will be some burden associated with accessing evidence. But defendant does not explain why it will be especially difficult to litigate this case in Virginia, or why transferring the case to the Central District of California will resolve those hypothetical problems”.

We now await to see how judges in the Virginia Federal Court respond.