The widely used website ‘youtube-mp3.org’ has been shut down as a settlement for their legal issues with the music industry. The popular site drew millions of visitors per day to use its service of converting YouTube URLs into mp3 files.
This use of this site has upset record labels, considering users had the ability to find a song on YouTube and download their own mp3 file within minutes, all completely cost-free for the user. Although ‘youtube-mp3.org’ could only process videos under 20 minutes in length, it posed a challenge to the music industry’s revenue. The organization was sued last year for copyright infringement.
The complaint was issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a group that aims to service a multitude of American record labels. Filed through the California Federal Court, the complaint brings light to and asks to rectify the interference with the sales of various labels which the RIAA represents. A sample of the court document reads: “Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for defendants.”
Torrenting music has been an issue since the early days of the Internet. Folks may remember, LimeWire, Napster, where it all started in 1999. Torrenting sites have since expanded into dozens of programs used on different operating systems, but primarily found through the Internet. It was reported by Music Watch Inc. in 2016 that 57 million consumers were retrieving music from unsanctioned sources in the United States alone. There are even websites like ‘torrentfreak.com’ which are wholly devoted to news and information about Internet media piracy and related legal topics.
Many are relieved by this recent court settlement between the audio-pirating monster and the RIAA. Besides those directly involved in the music industry and the corresponding financial impact, there are people out there who advocate for the 100 per cent honest and fair way of obtaining music: purchasing it directly through record labels or approved third party sellers such as iTunes. This way, the artists and producers receive their monetary compensation for creating the tunes that everyone enjoys.
As a part of the agreement, ‘youtube-mp3.org’ handed over its web domain to the RIAA on September 4, to discontinue services. Further efforts are being made to eliminate music piracy, as the RIAA claims, and the millions who used ‘youtube-mp3.org’ may see trouble down the road, even though there are several alternatives.
-Benjamin Johnson, Contributor