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RIAA submits its annual piracy snitch list

By | Published on Friday 14 October 2016


The Recording Industry Association Of America has submitted its input into this year’s ‘notorious markets’ review, the annual report that informs the Office Of The US Trade Representative on intellectual property issues, in particular with a view to identifying which countries are basically assisting IP infringers.

With old foes like vKontakte and KickassTorrents no longer on the RIAA’s hit list – the former having gone legit, the latter having gone down – the RIAA’s submission is a handy guide to alternative sources of free music content. No wait, I mean it’s an important summary of the websites that continue to hinder the growth of the digital music market, and which must be stamped out by The Man.

As previously reported, the music industry’s anti-piracy brigade have recently put stream-ripping sites to the top of their gripe list. Apps and websites that make it really simple for people to convert, say, a YouTube stream into an MP3 download have been an issue for sometime now, but trade groups like RIAA, the UK’s BPI and globally focused IFPI are now prioritising this particular brand of piracy sites, with the recently announced litigation against the first strike in this latest phase of the long-running online piracy war.

In addition to all the stream-ripping talk, and the list of the biggest piracy hubs online, the RIAA’s latest piracy paper also discusses some of the issues with tracking, locating and tackling piracy sites in 2016, including the kind of domain hopping that we’ve seen The Pirate Bay in particular employ in recent years (so as soon as rights owners block one domain, the service pops up at a new address), plus anonymous domain name registrations and the use of reverse proxy services like CloudFlare.

The RIAA writes: “BitTorrent sites, like many other pirate sites, are increasingly turning to Cloudflare, because routing their site through Cloudflare obfuscates the IP address of the actual hosting provider, masking the location of the site … the use of Cloudflare’s services can also act to frustrate site-blocking orders because multiple non-infringing sites may share a Cloudflare IP address with the infringing site”.

While the RIAA is not directly taking aim at Cloudflare itself – it being a legitimate internet services company – it seems likely that it, and similar service providers, will be facing calls from the music industry to be more proactive in stopping piracy set-ups utilising its platform.