RIAA, Stream-Ripping Sites Engaged In Dumb Game Of Whac-A-Mole With Search Engines

from the get-ripped dept

As we've detailed previously, the RIAA has for the past year or so specifically moved on to targeting stream-ripping sites as a primary focus. It's not entirely without logic, as more and more piracy by percentage has moved away from direct file downloads and torrents, and onto ripping streams. The focus has largely been on YouTube, where some sites have declined to play games and accepted defeat. But the RIAA is also targeting these sites to have them delisted from search engines. There, the whac-a-mole game is most definitely being played.

The upside for the RIAA is that there’s no standard counter-notice option for these requests. So, even when site owners don’t agree with the request, they have no option to protest it. Besides going to court, perhaps.

That doesn’t mean that these operators are sitting idly by while their search traffic is taken away. On the contrary, behind these scenes there’s a full-blown takedown war going on. Or to phrase it less aggressive: a game of takedown whack-a-mole.

Pretty much all of the large YouTube rippers are continuously updating to new URLs, which are not yet taken down by the RIAA. In most cases, new numbers are simply added to the URL. This ensures that their websites continue to show up in Google’s search results.

If this all sounds exceedingly pointless to you, welcome to the club. By trying a route that doesn't allow actual protest and oversight, the RIAA has instead chosen a method that is gloriously ineffective. Get a search engine to delist a URL, and the stream-ripping site simply alters the URL and gets it listed once more. Then the RIAA requests the delist on that new URL, at which point we rinse and repeat. The end result?

The result is a game of whack-a-mole that can potentially continue for years. Unless one side gives up of course.

None of the YouTube rippers we contacted responded to our request for comment. From what we can see, their traffic doesn’t appear to be impacted much. Some have seen a drop in traffic recently, but others witnessed an uptick at the same time. In any case, all the major sites are still findable in Google’s search results.

Whatever you may think of the RIAA's claim that stream-ripping sites ought to be taken down, a claim that I very much disagree with, we should all certainly be able to agree that this current strategy is completely pointless. It's time to come up with a new plan, RIAA folks, because when you play whac-a-mole, the idea is that you never actually win.

Filed Under: copyright, delisting, search, stream ripping, whac-a-mole
Companies: google, riaa


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:15pm

    The RIAA has spent the past two decades in a game of whac-a-mole with “piracy”. It won’t give up now — not when there’s a chance that digging up could still work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Feb 2020 @ 3:15am

      Re:

      "The RIAA has spent the past two decades in a game of whac-a-mole with “piracy”. It won’t give up now — not when there’s a chance that digging up could still work."

      Worse still, their beef with stream-ripping is just pure, unadulterated necromancy where they've dug up and resuscitated the corpse of their case against the tape cassette.

      Wanna bet we'll get to hear a RIAA spokesperson comparing stream-ripper sites to the Boston Strangler soon?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:25pm

    They are all in

    RIAA are all in to The Way Of The Stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Feb 2020 @ 3:20am

      Re: They are all in

      "RIAA are all in to The Way Of The Stupid."

      Yes and no. Their suggestions and claims are insane, dumb, illogical, and at the end no more than a rehash of the war they fought and lost against tape recording back in the '80's...
      ...but they know for a fact, that there are people in courtrooms and in high political office who are dumb or bought enough to swallow the tripe they're selling.

      If sounding like a complete idiot eventually works because it tires out the opposition it's hard to call them "dumb".
      It's more a case of not believing how anyone can live with themselves when they're being paid to humiliate themselves in public in so persistent a fashion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 2:39pm

    Riaa has lawyers , they need to be seen to do something,lawyers get paid big fee,s ,who wants to admit this is a waste of time .
    the music industry was against mp3 players and it took steve jobs to
    make em allow services where people could buy digital music legally
    instead of using napster to pirate music .
    Then streaming services showed that people will pay for music
    and increase revenue for music companys .
    The riaa is the last group to understand how to provide services to users
    at a reasonable price and understand you have to provide a
    good alternative to piracy that,s easy to use .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 4 Feb 2020 @ 4:13pm

    So glad that RIAA thinks Google is the Internet and that no one could possibly use a different search engine.

    Also if you are already into ripping content why would you use a search engine to get back to your favorite site? Just bookmark it or remember the address.

    Now if the site URL keeps changing then okay, you cant always just go directly to the site so it would appear the tactic of just renaming the site hurts repeat customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kog999, 5 Feb 2020 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      "Now if the site URL keeps changing then okay, you cant always just go directly to the site so it would appear the tactic of just renaming the site hurts repeat customers."

      i don't know if they actually do this or not but it would be super easy have the old URL just redirect to the new one so that the repeat customers are not affected.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 5:44pm

    Stream ripping is just another word for personal dvr or vcr and are legal under betamax imo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MathFox, 5 Feb 2020 @ 1:02am

      Re: Legality

      If you use a download tool on your own PC I see betamax apply... modulo DMCA changes in the law. Stream rippers make an additional copy and that creates another opportunity for lawyers to create billable hours.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2020 @ 1:23am

    Cut out the middle man

    Just use youtube-dl from the command-line. https://youtube-dl.org/

    Go for it, RIAA, DMCA the command-line. :)

    Note: I always do this. You need 1% of the download to be complete before a Linux media player will work (e.g vlc). Then you can watch. No ads, and you can skip around instantly (to times in the video which have already been downloaded).

    Why would you watch videos on youtube when you can play them locally?

    Additionally, you are not giving Google more information about which areas in the video you paused, skipped etc.. I dont know if they record this information, but I assume so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2020 @ 5:47am

      Re: Cut out the middle man

      Agreed. All of these "free youtube downloader no virus 2015" sites just use youtube-dl as the backend anyway.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2020 @ 7:32am

      Re: Cut out the middle man

      A huge benefit is that you get to keep the video, instead of hoping it's not going to be hit with some possibly-bogus takedown before you want to watch it again. Don't trust Google to hold onto our culture.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bobob, 5 Feb 2020 @ 1:38pm

    RIAA? Rip It Anywhere Anytime?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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