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Popular audio ripping site Convert2MP3 shuts down after lawsuit

Popular audio ripping site Convert2MP3 shuts down after lawsuit


And has surrendered the domain

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Global recording industry organization IFPI has confirmed in a statement that popular audio ripping site Convert2MP3 is shutting down as part of a settlement from a 2017 lawsuit. Convert2MP3 allows people to download audio files from YouTube links and other sources, and according to the IFPI, had 684 million visits from around the world over the past year.

The IFPI has marked piracy as a threat to the music industry for a number of years. Its 2018 Music Consumer Insight Report said that 38 percent of people globally consume music through copyright infringement, and for those who infringe, stream ripping sites like Convert2MP3 are the most popular option.

The 2017 case was coordinated in part by the IFPI, and filed by German record labels against Convert2MP3 in the company’s home country of Germany. According to Billboard, the labels said the site supported large-scale and sustained copyright violations by letting people extract downloadable audio files from things like music videos. In order to avoid litigation in court, Convert2MP3 has now agreed to shut down the site, any of its associated sites, and will also surrender the domains to the IFPI. Financial compensation is included as part of the settlement, and the site’s operator agrees to “not to infringe copyright or circumvent technological protection measures in relation to recorded music in future.”

The music industry had Convert2MP3 in its crosshairs for some time

The music industry has had Convert2MP3 in its crosshairs for some time. In 2017, the RIAA submitted a list of prominent piracy websites to the US government which included Convert2MP3, along with sites like Newalbumreleases, Rnbxclusive, and Youtube2mp3, which was forced to shut down in late 2017 after being sued by a group of record labels. That same year, the US government mentioned Convert2MP3 in its annual review of “notorious markets” — a term for locations where large-scale IP infringement takes place.

In 2018, Torrent Freak reported that Convert2MP3 was declared unlawful by a Danish court, and the court issued a global order for ISPs to block it. “The result of the case is historic,” said anti-piracy firm Rights Alliance, who shouldered the fight on behalf of the IFPI and other organizations. “It is the first time worldwide that a stream-ripping service has been ordered to be blocked.” Shortly after, Convert2MP3 popped up again in another federal court document, this time in Australia where several film companies sought an injunction against the site and others like it.

Users that now try to visit Convert2MP3 are met with a message from the IFPI that says: “This site has been shut down following legal action for copyright infringement. Stream-ripping sites, which convert licensed streamed content into unlicensed downloads, are illegal. Willful, commercial scale copyright infringement could lead to criminal conviction. Illegal music services exploit the work of artists and pay nothing to those creating and investing in music.”