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UK labels seek web-blocks against stream-ripping services

By | Published on Monday 8 February 2021


Web-blocks and stream-ripping, it’s the music piracy double whammy! Last week the UK record industry went back to court seeking web-block injunctions against a bunch of stream-ripping services. Because, well, why the fuck not?

Web-blocking, of course, is where copyright owners get injunctions ordering internet service providers to block access to copyright infringing websites. Stream-ripping is the services that allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams.

Stream-ripping has been the music industry’s top piracy gripe for a while now. And web-blocks have been the labels’ anti-piracy tactic of choice in those countries where such injunctions are available. So web-blocks against stream-ripping sites are no surprise.

When stream-ripping sites are directly targeted with copyright infringement litigation – or the threat of such litigation – sometimes they immediately cease operations, other times they argue that they are not, in fact, liable for any infringement.

When the latter strategy is employed, the stream-rippers generally argue that they are not directly involved in any infringing activity and that their services have both legitimate and illegitimate uses. Those are pretty much the same arguments employed, generally unsuccessfully, by the early file-sharing platforms.

Among the stream-ripping sites targeted by the UK record labels in their latest web-blocking frenzy are and

The Russian operator of those two sites, Tofig Kurbanov, has been fighting back against a copyright lawsuit pursued by the majors in the US, most recently taking the case to the country’s Supreme Court. Although in that specific case Kurbanov is trying to have the labels’ lawsuit dismissed mainly on jurisdiction grounds.

In this new UK case, of course, it’s the ISPs that the labels want to block and that are technically the defendants. According to Law360, those net firms have said they do not oppose the web-blocking injunctions in principle, but want to have an input in the drafting of any resulting court order.