Looking for the Biggest Pirate Sites? The US Government Can Help.

Every year, the Office of the US Trade Representatives releases a report of “notorious markets,” places both physical and virtual that it says pose a risk to American creative industries. This year’s report leans heavily on the issue of stream ripping. I quote:

Stream ripping is an emerging trend in digital copyright infringement that is increasingly causing substantial economic harm to music creators and undermining legitimate services. Stream ripping is the unauthorized act of converting a file from a licensed streaming site into an unauthorized copy for distribution via download to the requester. Stream ripping often involves violations of terms of use and the circumvention of technological protection measures that legitimate streaming services put in place to protect music content from unauthorized copying and distribution. A study from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry shows that stream ripping is on the rise in the world’s leading music markets. Nearly 30 percent of Internet users obtain unauthorized copies of music from stream ripping services.[6] This is the first Notorious Markets review in which copyright stakeholders have nominated stream ripping sites for inclusion in the List.

Digital music revenues and streaming revenues in particular represent an increasingly important share of music industry growth. In 2015, digital music revenues surpassed physical sales for the first time, and streaming revenues—which grew more than 45 percent—were a major driver behind overall global growth.[7] Stream ripping is a direct threat to this digital growth as it eliminates the need for users to return to licensed services, thereby depriving artists and record companies of this important revenue source. Pay-for-download sites and legitimate streaming services are simultaneously undermined, and incentives to create and launch new legitimate streaming services are weakened. In recognition of this growing threat, YOUTUBE-MP3 is added to the Notorious Market List this year as an example of one of the reportedly more popular stream ripping sites.

The report also mentions a bunch of pirate sites by name, many of which I’d never heard. It’s well worth the read.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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