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YouTube grabs domain off stream-ripping site via WIPO complaint

By | Published on Wednesday 10 February 2021


So, here’s another way to go after the pesky stream-rippers – take your case to the Domain Name Dispute Resolution Service of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. That’s what YouTube did, and last week said service ordered that a domain name that was previously home to a stream-ripping service be handed over to the Google video site.

Stream-ripping, of course, has been the music industry’s top piracy gripe for a while now. Often its music companies targeting websites that allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams, via cease and desist notices, full-on lawsuits, or web-block injunctions. However, YouTube, whose platform is commonly ripped by the rippers, also insists that it does its bit to tackle this kind of piracy.

In its recent submission to the UK Parliament’s inquiry into the economics of streaming, YouTube wrote: “We have continuously invested in various approaches to combat stream-ripping, including through improvements to technical infrastructure; working together with third parties, with whom we have run various technical experiments and explorations, and whose lawsuits against rippers we have supported with declarations; and other legal means such as sending cease-and-desist letters and filing domain name disputes”.

This particular domain name dispute was specifically pursued on the basis that the operator of was exploiting the YouTube trademark for a service that encouraged and enabled people to violate YouTube’s terms of service by ripping its streams.

YouTube took the matter to WIPO’s domain dispute set-up which, in its own words, exists to provide “time and cost-efficient mechanisms to resolve internet domain name disputes, without the need for court litigation”.

The owner of – Vietnamese-based Ken Nguyenm – did not respond to YouTube’s complaint. In the absence of any defence, Stephanie Hartung of WIPO’s domain disputes panel wrote in a ruling last week that the stream-ripping site’s domain was confusing, it did not use that name in a bona fide way, and therefore Nguyen had both registered and used in “bad faith”.

Hartung wrote: “The panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the YouTube trademark in which complainant has rights. The panel is further convinced on the basis of complainant’s undisputed contentions that respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services”.

“Nor has respondent been commonly known by the disputed domain name”, the ruling added. “Nor can it be found that respondent has made a legitimate noncommercial or fair use thereof without intent for commercial gain. The panel finally holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by respondent in bad faith”.

With all that in mind, “the panel orders that the disputed domain name be transferred to complainant”.

To what extent this process can be used to target other stream-ripping sites depends on what domain names they use, of course. Others have also used the YouTube brand, though many have much more generic names.

Also, as it always the case, it’s debatable how effective action of this kind really is, even when successful. Torrentfreak points out that YouTubeconverter is now branding and hosting itself as and at