A federal judge dismissed a copyright infringement case brought by Universal Music, Sony Music and 10 other record labels against the operator of Russian stream-ripping website FLVTO.biz. The U.S. District Court Judge ruled the court lacked jurisdiction, as the owner did deliberatly target U.S. citizens by operating the site.
FLVTO.biz allows users to take audio from videos on YouTube and other sources. It received 263 million visits between Oct. 2017 and Sept. 2018, with almost10 percent of the site’s traffic came from the United States. The IFPI pointed to sites like these as the most popular method for obtaining copyright-infringing music.
The record labels asserted the court had jurisdiction as many of the site’s U.S. visitors came from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and argued that FLVTO’s geo-targeted ads showed its intentional targeting of Virginians and others in the U.S. The sites in question are free to use but earn revenue through advertising, with much of it geo-targeted based on a user’s location.
The court’s dismisal was found due to there being no commercial relationship with users, due to revenue being derived from third party advertisers.
A spokesperson of the Recording Industry Association of America said they would review options on how to respond to the ruling.