The operators of YouTube-MP3.org, a popular website for turning the audio tracks of YouTube videos into MP3s, have agreed to shut down the site and hand over the domain to the RIAA. This predictable outcome comes after 15 of the world’s largest record companies filed a complaint in a California court. Poor little YouTube-MP3.org never had a chance.
It’s actually remarkable that YouTube-MP3.org even survived this long. The website’s sole purpose is enabling users to download audio tracks that they don’t have permission to download. This practice is commonly known as “stream ripping,” and record companies have said that it’s bigger than piracy. In the case of, say, the latest Taylor Swift single (which is awful by the way), YouTube-MP3.org lets you rip the song in a matter of seconds. No need to buy it on iTunes or, God forbid, at a record store. Everything is free on the internet.
It’s been almost year, however, since the consortium of record companies first sued YouTube-MP3.org. In the end, the parties decided on a settlement rather than letting a judge decide the website’s fate. In addition to shutting down YouTube-MP3.org and handing over its domain, a proposed final judgement submitted Friday states the owners of the site will pay the record companies an undisclosed sum and refrain from “knowingly designing, developing, offering, or operating” any other infringing stream ripping service.