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Stream-rippers FLVTO and 2conv ordered to keep and share logs of what audio is being ripped

By | Published on Wednesday 30 June 2021


A court in Virginia has told the Russian operator of stream-ripping sites FLVTO and 2conv that he must maintain logs of user-activity and then share those logs with the record companies that are suing him for copyright infringement.

Stream-ripping sites – which turn temporary streams, often YouTube streams, into permanent downloads – have been the music industry’s top piracy gripe for years now, of course. The argument being that such sites are involved in the infringement of copyright. Which is why the majors decided to sue Tofig Kurbanov, who operates both FLVTO and 2conv.

With the case against Kurbanov going through the motions, the majors recently requested access to logs from FLVTO and 2conv to identify what specific YouTube videos are having their audio ripped via the two websites, and also where the rippers are located. But Kurbanov argued that he didn’t keep any such logs and expecting him to start doing so would be “unduly burdensome”.

However, the labels countered that storing such information was a relatively easy task, mainly involving turning on automated server logging tools that Kurbanov had deliberately turned off. And to that end they requested that the court force Kurbanov to start logging and sharing the information they required.

In a court filing earlier this month they stated: “In the ordinary course of operations, defendant’s websites necessarily generate server data, including data that identifies: (a) the YouTube videos being stream-ripped; (b) the MP3 audio files being copied and distributed; and (c) the geographic locations of the users downloading the audio files. Respectfully, the court should order defendant to preserve and produce this key evidence”.

As well as arguing that storing such logs would be “unduly burdensome”, Kurbanov also raised privacy concerns in relation to the storing and sharing of such data, mainly because the specific IP addresses of users would be involved. However, the labels said that, while they did want geographical data down to the state level within the US, Kurbanov could redact the actual IP addresses before handing the logs over.

Either way, the court has now sided with the labels on this one, with the judge stating in a short court order that “plaintiffs’ motion to compel preservation and production of web server data is granted”.

Obviously, the labels are hoping that the logs will show many of the YouTube videos being ripped on FLVTO and 2conv contain recordings owned by the majors, and that lots of that ripping is happening within the US. We shall see if that’s the case – and whether that helps the record industry convince the court that Kurbanov should be held liable for contributory copyright infringement.