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April 25, 2019
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Music industry tackles illicit challenge to streaming services

A group of major music labels is seeking court orders that will force major telcos to block online services that they say represent an illicit challenge to streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify.

The application to block the four services is being coordinated by Music Rights Australia. The action has been brought in the Federal Court by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Universal Music Australia and Warner Music.

If the application is granted — and the Federal Court is yet to knock back a site-blocking injunction brought under Section 115a of the Copyright Act — then customers of Foxtel, Optus, TPG and Vodafone, as well as customers of the telcos’ subsidiaries, will be affected by the site blocks.

The current legal action is the first time so-called ‘stream ripping’ sites, which allow audio from streaming services such as Spotify to be downloaded, have been targeted by a Section 115a action.

Barrister Rob Clark appearing for the applicants this morning at a case management hearing acknowledged the action is “somewhat different” to past site-blocking cases “in so far as the online locations don’t themselves provide content or the means to get content [such as] BitTorrent or streaming sites.”

Four sites that allow people to download the audio tracks of YouTube videos as MP3 files are targeted by the court action:  Convert2mp3, 2conv, Flv2Mp3, and Flvto.

Convert2mp3 is based in Germany, while 2conv, Flv2Mp3, and Flvto are believed to be run by the same operator, who is based in Russia.

US legal action against 2conv and Flvto.biz recently faltered, with a judge finding the Recording Industry Association of America lacked the jurisdiction necessary, according to a DigitalMusicNews.com report.

The labels argue that the four services allow users to download copies of songs by pop stars including Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Sia, Illy, Dami Im and Jessica Mauboy.

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