Operator of YouTube Rippers Should Stand Trial in the US, Major Labels Say
Several major labels including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, are squaring off with the Russian operator of YouTube-ripping sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com. The latter has filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming he lacks sufficient ties to the US, but the RIAA labels clearly disagree.
Streamripping sites are seen as the largest piracy threat to the music industry, so record labels are doing their best to shut them down.
Not all stream-ripping sites are folding without a fight though. FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, owned by the Russian developer Tofig Kurbanov, remain online despite being sued by several record labels in August.
Two weeks ago, Kurbanov filed a motion to dismiss the case at the Federal Court in California. According to the defense, the court has no jurisdiction over the matter. Less than 6% of all visitors come from the US, and the site is managed entirely from Russia, it argued.
This week the RIAA labels, including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, responded to the motion to dismiss, clearly disagreeing with the defense. They argue that the operator of FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com downplays the connections to the US and Virginia.
In their memorandum, the record labels argue that both sites had millions of visitors from the United States over the past twelve months.
“[I]n the past year alone, Defendant’s websites had over 542,000 users from Virginia, who visited the sites more than 1.3 million times, and over 31 million users from the United States as a whole, who visited the sites more than 96 million times,” they write.
In addition, they point out that the sites have done business with U.S.-based web-hosting services, domain-name registrars, and advertising firms. Up until recently, some servers were even located in Virginia, the plaintiffs write.
These and other arguments are more than sufficient for the court to have jurisdiction over the case, the RIAA labels argue.
If a dismissal is not an option, the stream-ripper operator asked to transfer the case to a California court. Some of the parties are located there, while none are in Virginia, and it would be easier to access evidence.
However, the major record labels refute this argument as well.
“Wherever the case is held, there will be some burden associated with accessing evidence. But Defendant does not explain why it will be especially difficult to litigate this case in Virginia, or why transferring the case to the Central District of California will resolve those hypothetical problems,” they write.
It’s now up to the Virginia Federal Court to decide how to move forward. As noted by Digital Music News who covered the motion to dismiss, a hearing on the matter has been set for November 9th.
Thus far the case is only dealing with jurisdictional issues. If the case continues, the alleged copyright infringements or lack thereof, are expected to be argued in more detail.
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