Convert2MP3, one of the world’s most-used stream ripping sites, has ceased to operate globally, following action coordinated by IFPI and BVMI on behalf of their member record companies. The Germany-based site, which had 684 million visits from around the world over the past 12 months, has agreed to shut down, surrender its domains and not infringe the rights of record companies in the future.

After legal action was brought in Germany against Convert2MP3 for large-scale and sustained violation of record labels’ copyright, a settlement was reached, including but not limited to financial compensation. The settlement required the global shutdown of Convert2MP3 and any other infringing sites owned by the operator. Additionally, the site is required to hand over the Convert2MP3 domains to IFPI and give broad undertakings not to infringe copyright or circumvent technological protection measures in relation to recorded music in future.

Previously a court in Germany granted a preliminary injunction in respect of Convert2MP3 on the basis that effective technological protection measures were circumvented via the service, and that it produced or owned software which allowed this to take place.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive, IFPI, representing the global recording industry worldwide, said: “Stream ripping is a threat to the entire music ecosystem. Sites such as Convert2MP3 show complete disregard for the rights of artists and record companies and take money away from those creating and investing in music.

“The successful outcome if this case sends a clear signal to other stream ripping sites that they should stop their copyright infringing activities or face legal action.”

Dr. Florian Drücke, Chairman & CEO BVMI, stated: “This is a great success for the digital music market. Since the music industry has transformed into a digital business it is of the utmost importance that the rights of artists and their partners are protected online. We are seeing an increasing understanding on the part of the courts and the fans that digital licensing is crucial for the creative industries and that business cases based on free riding are unacceptable.”

Sites like Convert2MP3 extract an audio file from a licensed audiovisual work - usually a streamed music video - and present it to a user as a free permanent download. These sites exploit high levels of traffic to profit from advertising but pay nothing back to artists or creators.

The action against Convert2MP3 is part of a global industry strategy to tackle these illegal sites.