Late last year the RIAA started targeting several YouTube rippers and downloaders by sending relatively rare takedown requests to Google.
Instead of the usual DMCA copyright notices, the music group asked the search engine to remove various URLs for alleged violations of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.
The sites in question circumvent YouTube’s rolling cipher, which is a technical protection measure that protects audio and video from being copied without permission, the RIAA argued. As such, they should be removed from Google’s search results.
This takedown strategy appeared to be quite effective. After taking down the many links to FLVTO, 2Conv, Y2Mate, and Yout, the RIAA expanded its scope to other YouTube rippers. In total, the music group has now targeted thousands of URLs in hundreds of notices.
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.
Take Flvto.biz, for example. People who access the site today will notice that the English homepage redirects to Flvto.biz/en44. However, just a few days ago it used Flvto.biz/en42, and in between, it was accessible through Flvto.biz/en43.
The site keeps updating its URLs to remain visible in Google’s search results. This is indeed needed, as the RIAA continues to send takedown notices similar to the one below.
Many other sites are using the same strategy, which is obvious from new homepages such as 2conv.com/en25, mpgun.com/lang-2en/convert, y2mate.com/en4, ytmp3.cc/en10, savefrom.net/3, and listenvid.com/us4.
The listenvid.com/us4 URL, which is still active at the time of writing, will likely update soon, as the RIAA removed it from Google’s search results just a few hours ago, as can be seen here;
The above clearly shows that many YouTube rippers are not backing down but the RIAA is showing no signs of stopping either. After it started a few months ago, the group’s efforts have only increased. Yesterday alone the RIAA submitted over a dozen notices targeting hundreds of URLs.
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.