Internet users are constantly looking for ways to avoid paying for things that they can easily obtain for free—movies, television, music, and more. Long after the days of Limewire and Napster, music fans have kept the tradition alive by figuring out how to rip audio straight from YouTube videos. Rather than paying to download singles from iTunes, many music fans have often choose the easier—but less legal—route of ripping audio for free. Many websites even make this task even easier by allowing user to just drop a URL and it will provide the download link for you. However, it appears these days will soon be over.
According to BBC News, major labels are beginning to crack down on these websites that allow people to rip audio from YouTube videos. Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, Atlantic, and more have officially taken aim at Youtube-mp3.org. The German-based site simply converts YouTube URLs into mp3 files, making downloading music for free extremely easy for users. The labels have launched legal action against the site in federal court in Los Angeles.
These record labels report that "tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month." Although there are many different sites that provide this service, the labels claim YouTube-mp3.org is "chief offender."
The legal reports claim these labels are seeking damages from the German company of roughly $150,000 for each alleged instance of piracy. The lawsuit already lists up to 300 songs, which would add up to a massive pay off for these labels if the case works in their favor. Along with the damages, they are also looking to ban these third party sites all together. As of now, the defendants have yet to respond to the claims.