7 October 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

UMG seeks $82m from YouTube stream-rippers

Universal Media Group (UMG) has secured a default judgment against two YouTube video-ripping services and is seeking more than $82 million in damages, according to documents published by a Virginia federal court.

Tofig Kurbanov operated and, which are used to convert videos from websites such as YouTube to a permanent audio or video download.

According to court documents, these websites are among the most popular stream-ripping sites, boasting almost 300 million page visits in 2018 alone.

In August, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted UMG’s motion for default judgment.

Now in a memorandum of support released on Wednesday 5 October, UMG’s counsel asked that the court grant the $82,922,500 reward, plus post-judgment interest, permanently enjoin the Kurbanov, and assign the two domains to UMG.

UMG claimed that Krubanov “touts the free availability of the recordings” via “Top 100 most converted and downloaded MP3s” lists, which are displayed on both of the websites and feature many of the label’s music videos and recordings.

Kurbanov allegedly attempted to hide the scope of his “unlawful conduct” and financial resources and refused to comply with court orders to produce website data.

“The defendant should not be rewarded for hiding this information, and all reasonable inferences should be drawn against the defendant and in favour of plaintiffs when assessing damages,” UMG stated.

Case history

In May 2018, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sent a cease and desist letter to Kurbanov demanding that he disable all stream-ripping functionality from his websites.

After failing to remove the infringing functionality, the RIAA flagged the website with Google, which promptly delisted the websites from its search engine.

UMG Recordings, alongside several other record labels including Warner Bros Records, Atlantic Records, and Sony Music Entertainment, collectively sued Kurbanov in August 2018.

Proceedings were delayed when Kurbanov claimed the court lacked personal jurisdiction. The Virginia court granted the motion, which was appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Kurbanov then sought review of the circuit decision at the US Supreme Court, which denied his petition for certiorari.

In July 2021, Kurbanov’s counsel informed the court that he did not intend to appear for his deposition. This led UMG recordings to file a motion for default judgment based on Kurbanov’s “wilful disobedience” of court orders.

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