With so much music available for free on the ad-supported tiers of the various streaming services, you’d wonder why anyone would even bother trying to steal it. The same goes for music videos, since anyone can access just about anything on YouTube without paying a dime. But if you thought that nobody wants to do that, you’re wrong, and a new lawsuit by the YouTube download site Yout proves that music piracy is alive and well.
Yout helped its users bypass YouTube’s technology in order to illegally download videos. This was something that caught the RIAA’s (Record Industry Association of America) notice, so it demanded that Google delist the site from search results because of the alleged copyright violations.
So Yout decided to initiate a lawsuit, seeking a “declaratory ruling” that it didn’t violate the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and charging that the RIAA defamed the site and wrongfully wanted Google to delist.
A federal judge didn’t see it that way though, and ruled against Yout. Judge Underhill ruled that “Yout’s technology clearly ‘bypasses’ YouTube’s technological measures because it affirmatively acts to ‘modify’ the Request URL (a.k.a. signature value), causing an end user to access content that is otherwise unavailable”.
You think that would be the end of it, but Yout’s attorney’s expected the result and plan to appeal, proving that not only can you sue for the right to steal, but also insist you’re the one that’s in the right. This is akin to someone breaking into your house, then suing you because you called the cops.
Yout’s site may be still be online somewhere but you’ll never find it unless you know it’s IP address. All the search engines now point back to YouTube when you do a search.
We haven’t heard the last of this case though, but Yout’s owners better have some deep pockets to take on Google (YouTube’s parent company).
Music piracy has largely decreased over the last 5 years, but reports are that’s it’s actually slowly on the rise again. This case proves that’s a correct assumption.
If you’re really into the legal details, you can read the decision here.