Tag Archives: namecheap

RIAA Shut Down DBR.ee, Now Obtains Subpoenas to Target Replacement

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-shut-down-dbr-ee-obtains-subpoenas-to-target-replacement-191208/

In May 2019, TF discovered that the RIAA had obtained a DMCA subpoena which compelled CDN company Cloudflare to reveal the identities of several site operators using its services.

Among the several domains listed was DBR.ee, a file-hosting site that had was utilized by some of its users for hosting pre-release music leaks. This clearly didn’t sit well with the RIAA and within a month of the subpoena being obtained, DBR.ee shut itself down.

Initially it wasn’t clear if the subpoena and the closure were linked but soon after a message appeared on the site which advised that it had been shut down for copyright infringement following action by the RIAA, IFPI, and Music Canada.

The DBR.ee shutdown notice

Early September, however, a new site appeared. Sporting the DBREE name and graphics but located under a different URL (DBREE.co), the site seemed to want to pick up where the original had left off. It’s not currently known whether the same people are behind the resurrection but the RIAA appears keen to find out.

Late November the RIAA obtained a pair of DMCA subpoenas at a Columbia federal court, one targeting domain registrar Namecheap and the other CDN service Cloudflare. Their aim is to uncover the identities of several site operators, DBREE.co’s included.

“The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identity of the individual assigned to these websites who has induced the infringement of, and has directly engaged in the infringement of, our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorization,” the subpoenas read.

DBREE.co stands accused of infringement on three tracks – Lover by Taylor Swift, Under the Graveyard by Ozzy Osbourne, and Thailand by Lil Uzi Vert.

FLACC.org, a music release blog that links to content hosted elsewhere, is also accused of infringing copyrights on three tracks from Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, and Tech N9ne.

Hiphopeasy.xyz, an album, single, and mixtape indexing site, is currently offline. Nevertheless, the RIAA claims it infringed the rights of Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Ed Sheeran. Another platform, identified by the RIAA as operating from Ovzy.xyz and its subdomains, is also inaccessible.

As usual, the subpoenas require Namecheap and Cloudflare to give up every piece of information they hold on the site’s alleged operators. Both companies are also asked to consider “the widespread and infringing nature” of the sites to determine whether they are in breach of terms of service agreements or repeat infringer policies.

Whether Namecheap or Cloudflare have any useful information to hand over to the RIAA remains to be seen but they are both expected to comply.

The DMCA subpoenas are available here and here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

As RIAA Targets Yet More YouTube-Ripping Sites, Here’s the State of Play

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/as-riaa-targets-yet-more-youtube-ripping-sites-heres-the-state-of-play-191005/

Over the past few years, users ripping music from sites like YouTube has been portrayed by the industry as a bigger problem than torrent sites.

According to stats published by industry group IFPI last year, 32% of all Internet users were stream rippers, up from 30% in 2016. This, according to the group, made it the leading form of music piracy.

Last week, however, a new report revealed that the practice is actually on a downward trend, with 23% of those surveyed admitting to using stream-ripping services. Despite the big decrease, the RIAA isn’t likely to step away from its enforcement efforts anytime soon, as evidenced by a new application filed at a US court.

The application for a DMCA subpoena filed in the District of Columbia targets three sites that are either directly or indirectly linked to YouTube-ripping.

In common with several previous applications, this one also requires domain registry Namecheap to hand over the personal details of their operators, providing names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, payment information and more.

The first, YouTubeMP4.biz, recently suffered a drop in traffic according to SimilarWeb stats but that blip aside, has been pulling in up to 1.2 million visits per month throughout 2019. It is most popular in the United States, followed by the UK, Thailand, India and Turkey.

Next up is Keepvid.ws, which at around three million visits per month is the most popular in the application. Perhaps unusually given the close interest of the RIAA, the YouTube-ripping platform is most popular in South Africa, with around 16% of its traffic coming from the region. India and the United States follow with around 10% each.

The last of the RIAA’s latest targets is HDMP4.net, which on the surface seems different from the rest. When accessing the site’s URL directly, visitors are greeted with a blank page, which is unusual for a stream-ripping platform.

Furthermore, Google reveals that HDMP4.net has had just a handful of DMCA notices filed against it over the past several years, the last in 2015, with none coming from the music industry. However, checking in Google’s indexes reveals that the site isn’t indexed, so that makes sense.

The RIAA does mention some specific URLs carrying its content, including tracks by Cyndi Lauper and ZZ Top, which raises the question of whether other sites are using it in some way. Indeed, checks using various resources indicate that the site, which only gained significant traffic in June this year, seems connected to a number of other ripping services.

The big question remains whether the raft of DMCA subpoenas obtained by the RIAA against companies such as Namecheap and Cloudflare are having any direct effect on the operations of these platforms. While things are probably going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, in the main most previously-targeted sites seem unaffected.

In May, the RIAA tried to extract the personal details of huge ripping site Y2Mate.com from Cloudflare and Namecheap. At the time the site had around 60 million monthly visits and despite the efforts, remains stubbornly online today.

The only real difference now is that SimilarWeb reports the site enjoying in excess of 130 million monthly visits, more than double the traffic reported back in May. The company recently changed the way it calculates traffic but it seems unlikely to have had this much of an effect, particularly since other online measurement sites also show a big upward trend.

On the flip side, a separate effort in May to unmask the operator of YouTubNow.com, a site with 15 million monthly visits, may have paid off. The site currently carries a “maintenance” message and its traffic has tanked to almost zero. That can probably go in the success column for the RIAA.

Back in June, the RIAA homed-in on 10Convert.com, Amoyshare.com, AnythingtoMP3.cc, IMP3Juices.com, BigConverter.com, YouTubeMP4.to, QDownloader.net, GenYouTube.net, Break.TV, DL-YouTube-MP3.net, ConvertBox.net, and Downloaders.io.

At the time of writing, only ConvertBox.net seems completely down while BigConverter.com might have resorted to blocking UK traffic for reasons unknown. The rest are operational, which doesn’t sound like a notable success rate. That being said, the RIAA may have other goals in mind so the bigger picture may play out in time.

By the industry’s own accounting, stream-ripping is on a downward trend but whether that’s attributable to the RIAA’s takedown efforts remains open to speculation. That being said, the RIAA will argue it has to do something, so the pressure is likely to continue.

The latest DMCA subpoena granted by the court can be found here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

After RIAA Targets DJ & Producer Site Mixstep, Site Shuts Down

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/after-riaa-targets-dj-producer-site-mixstep-site-shuts-down-190616/

In recent weeks the RIAA has really stepped on the gas in an effort to tackle sites offering allegedly-infringing content.

The music industry group’s current weapon-of-choice is the DMCA subpoena. These orders, which are easy to obtain and do not need to be scrutinized by a judge, give the RIAA significant discovery powers that help to identify the operators of online platforms.

The latest site to be targeted by the RIAA is Mixstep.co, an upload platform designed for audio works. Last week the powerful industry group told a Columbia federal court that the site was hosting content at a single URL which infringes one or more of its members’ copyrights.

The RIAA says the URL linked to the Ed Sheeran/Justin Bieber track “I Don’t Care” but the location was already inaccessible the morning after the subpoena was obtained. Nevertheless, the RIAA now wants to identify the operator of the site.

The message where the file used to be

The subpoena orders domain registry Namecheap to hand over the personal details of the platform’s domain owner, including name, physical address, IP address, telephone, email address, payment, account history, and other information.

TorrentFreak spoke with the operator of Mixstep who told us he wasn’t previously aware why the RIAA is targeting him. The site was never intended to host infringing content and was actually set up for the use of creators.

“We made this project for DJs and producers,” he told TF.

In common with many upload platforms – YouTube included – Mixstep has users who uploaded infringing content. However, the site has been working hard to take content down and has dealt severely with those who have abused the service.

“We already banned a lot of users who uploaded illegal files,” the operator added.

It’s not completely clear why the RIAA wants to identify the operator of the site but if its aim was to neutralize the platform, the music group has achieved that goal. With the service operated on a zero profit basis, its owner says it has run its course.

“I think it’s enough to fight with all these [users uploading infringing files] so we’re going to shut down our project very soon. Anyway, Mixstep was a no-profit project,” he said.

Visitors to the site now see the following message, so it may be ‘mission accomplished’ for the RIAA.

The end of the show

The RIAA’s letter to Cloudflare can be downloaded here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

RIAA Subpoenas Target Yet Another Huge YouTube-Ripping Site

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-subpoenas-target-yet-another-huge-youtube-ripping-site-190527/

According to the major labels, so-called YouTube-ripping sites are a major threat to their business models.

Visitors to these platforms are able to enter a YouTube URL and then download whatever content they want to their own machines. That may be video and audio, or audio alone.

Either way, users then have less of a reason to revisit YouTube for the same content, depriving both the labels and YouTube of revenue, the companies argue. It’s now becoming clear that the music industry, led by the RIAA, wants to do something about this issue.

The latest target for the RIAA is YouTube-ripping giant Y2Mate.com, which offers conversion and downloads of content hosted on Google’s platform. As seen in the screenshot below, it offers a familiar and convenient interface for users to carry out those tasks.

Screenshot of Y2Mate.com

It’s no surprise that Y2Mate now finds itself under the spotlight. According to SimilarWeb stats, the site is attracting huge and increasing volumes of users, making it a major player on the Internet, period.

Y2Mate currently attracts just short of 64 million visits every month, something which places it well within the top 900 most-visited sites in the United States.

However, around 89% of its traffic actually comes from other regions, so its rank on the global stage is even more impressive. SimilarWeb data indicates that it’s the 570th most-trafficked site in the world.

Y2Mate traffic stats: (SimilarWeb data)

To unmask the operator of this site, the RIAA has just applied for and obtained DMCA subpoenas at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The first targets US-based CDN company Cloudflare and explains that the RIAA is concerned that Y2Mate is “offering recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use..”

The RIAA’s letter to Cloudflare lists three URLs where allegedly-infringing tracks can be downloaded. The tracks are ‘Never’ by Heart and ‘Let Me Be The One’ by Exposé (both 1985), plus the 1989 release ‘Don’t Wanna Fall In Love’ by Jane Child.

It’s not clear whether the RIAA has already sent Cloudflare a separate takedown notice but the letter to company notes that if it has, that was “merely meant to facilitate removal of the infringing material” and does not “suggest or imply” that the company can rely on its safe harbor protections under the DMCA.

In any event, the RIAA is clear about why it obtained the subpoena.

“The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to [Y2Mate] who have reproduced and have offered for distribution our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorization,” the music group notes.

The letter sent to NameCheap has the same substance and also specifically demands the “name, physical address, IP address, IP address, telephone number, e-mail address, payment information, account updates and account history” of Y2Mate’s operator.

Both Cloudflare and NameCheap are further asked to consider the “widespread and repeated infringing nature” of Y2Mate and whether that constitutes a violation of the companies’ repeat-infringer policies.

According to the Y2Mate site, however, the platform believes it is operating within the law.

Referring to itself as ‘Muvi’, a statement notes that its only purpose is to “create a copy of downloadable online-content for the private use of the user (‘fair use’)” and the user bears full responsibility for all actions related to the data.

“Muvi does not grant any rights to the contents, as it only acts as a technical service provider,” the Y2Mate copyright page reads.

Just last week, the RIAA targeted another YouTube-ripping site, YouTubNow, with a similar subpoena. Within hours of our report, the site went down, ostensibly for maintenance.

TF previously reported that the RIAA is targeting several other ‘pirate’ sites that use Cloudflare. Similar action is also being aimed at file-hosting platform NoFile.

The RIAA’s letters to Cloudflare and NameCheap can be found here and here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.