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December 20, 2021 |Press Statements

U.S. Judge Recommends Millions in Damages Against Russian Stream-Ripping Services in Landmark RIAA Litigation

FLVTO/Kurbanov Litigation Previously Cemented U.S. Courts’ Jurisdiction Over Foreign Piracy Websites That Cause Harm Inside the U.S.

New Ruling Confirms That Stream-Ripping Infringes Copyright and Unlawfully Circumvents Anti-Piracy Measures and Awards Statutory Damages

Washington, D.C. (December 20, 2021) – In a case brought by more than a dozen record labels, a U.S. Magistrate Judge has recommended that the operators of Russian piracy websites pay millions in damages for circumventing YouTube’s anti-piracy measures and infringing copyrights in audio recordings. The award includes statutory damages of $50,000 for each copyrighted work and still must be evaluated by a U.S. District Court judge. The magistrate also recommended the issuance of a permanent injunction against the websites’ piracy activities and ordered the operators to pay the labels’ attorneys’ fees and costs.

The sophisticated piracy operation, which included more than 300 million global users during a single twelve-month period, encouraged copyright infringement and then profited itself by selling advertising on its websites. Because of this clear breach of core copyright principles, several national governments including the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Spain and even Russia have ordered internet providers to block access to these commercial piracy websites.

The U.S. Magistrate Judge’s recommendation (attached) will now be reviewed by U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton for a final determination and order.

RIAA Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow made the following statement in response to this ruling:

“This litigation sets out vital first principles that should chart a path for further enforcement against foreign stream-rippers and other forms of online piracy that undermine the legitimate market for music.”

“Having previously confirmed the jurisdiction of American courts over foreign websites that cause harm in our country – a critical principle that allows U.S. copyright owners as well as other victims of serious online illegality to seek redress – the court’s latest ruling further establishes the substantive liability of stream-ripping services like FLVTO for copyright infringement and makes clear that circumvention of technical protection measures like YouTube’s rolling cipher is its own separate unlawful act.”

“This ruling is a major step forward to protect artists, songwriters, record labels, and consumers from one of the most pernicious forms of online piracy.”