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RIAA’s latest anti-piracy push results in two more sites going offline

By | Published on Monday 17 June 2019


Two more websites accused of facilitating copyright infringement have gone offline, seemingly as a result of recent efforts by the Recording Industry Association Of America to force more piracy operations off the internet.

The US record industry trade group has been particularly busy of late securing court orders that force domain registrars and internet companies like Cloudflare to reveal the identities of the people behind websites that it believes are liable for infringement.

Since those court orders have been secured, a number of websites named in them have subsequently shut down. Some have voluntarily ceased operations when faced with the threat of legal action by the record industry, while others seem to have had their domain names seized or disabled.

The latter method has seemingly resulted in file-hosting service going offline. Its domain registrar is Namecheap, which has recently been on the receiving end of various RIAA subpoenas seeking contact information about alleged piracy operations.

Torrentfreak reckons that it’s Namecheap itself that is responsible for the file-hosting site being no longer accessible. The registrar has reportedly applied a “serverHold” to the domain, something usually done as a result of a legal dispute.

Another website named in an RIAA subpoena against Namecheap was Mixstep, a platform used by DJs and producers to share mixes. The operator of that site seemingly chose to voluntarily take it offline as soon as it looked likely that legal action was looming.

Speaking to Torrentfreak, Mixstep’s owner said that he had been working hard to remove any copyright infringing content uploaded to his site and to ban users who repeatedly infringed.

Such activity may well have meant that Mixstep could rely on safe harbour protection if and when it was sued by the record industry, because the infringement was actually being undertaken by its users and it had systems in place to deal with both infringement and infringers.

However, running that system was already proving pretty taxing for what was always intended as a not-for-profit website, and possible litigation on top of all that seems to have motivated the voluntary shutdown.

Of course, not all websites accused of copyright infringement immediately give up. Some – especially those based outside the US – sometimes put up a fight. For example, the RIAA’s attempts to force Russian stream-ripping sites and offline have so far been unsuccessful.

However, the trade body’s recent push has nevertheless had some successes, with the likes of RapGodFathers and joining and Mixstep on the list of sites targeted by the RIAA that are now not operating.