25 January 2019Copyright

US court throws out case against audio-ripping sites

A US court has thrown out a copyright infringement case after ruling that it doesn’t have jurisdiction over Russian websites Flvto and 2conv.

The  opinion was issued on Tuesday, January 22, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Record companies including Capitol Records, UMG, Sony Music and Warner Bros filed the suit against Russian national Tofig Kurbanov, owner and operator of the websites, on August 3, 2018.

The websites allow users to “rip” or download the audio from YouTube videos, including music, without permission of either YouTube or the record labels who own the copyright to the songs.

In the complaint, the record labels alleged that the two websites were dedicated to the piracy of their copyright-protected recordings.

The companies were seeking an order requiring Kurbanov to surrender the domains of the website and cease any infringing activity.

The district court found, however, that it had no jurisdiction over the websites. Citing a 2001 Federal Circuit decision in ALS Scan v Remarq Communities, the court reiterated that “personal jurisdiction requires purposeful targeting of a forum with manifest intent to engage in business there”.

Although both Flvto and 2conv “interacted” with users in Virginia by allowing them to download files, this was not sufficient engagement to merit personal jurisdiction, the court found.

Earlier this month, TBO  reported that the Russian websites, among others, had been the subject of a blocking request by record labels in Australia.

This story was first published on TBO.

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