Business News Digital Legal
By Chris Cooke | Published on Thursday 10 August 2023
German web hosting company Uberspace has confirmed that it has taken down the website for stream-ripping software youtube-dl in response to an order issued by the courts in Germany earlier this year.
That court order was the result of legal action pursued by the major record companies. For the music industry, of course, stream-ripping services – which allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams – have been a top piracy gripe for some time.
Meanwhile music and movie companies have also started pursuing legal action against a wider range of internet firms in a bid to block access to piracy services, including DNS resolvers, VPNs and web hosting platforms.
Which is why the majors went after Uberspace, which doesn’t actually host the youtube-dl software itself, but does have on its servers an official youtube-dl web-page that links through to where the software is available.
The music companies argued that youtube-dl infringes copyright and that, by hosting its web-page, Uberspace should be held liable for that infringement, unless it removes said web-page. And back in March the Hamburg Regional Court basically agreed with the music companies and ordered the web-page’s removal.
For its part, Uberspace has been critical of the major music companies and the court that issued the injunction.
It disputes the conclusion that stream-ripping services infringe copyright, arguing that those services don’t usually host any copyright infringing content and have legitimate as well as illegitimate uses. It also argues that a web hosting company should not be the target of anti-piracy legal action.
With all that in mind, Uberspace decided to appeal the ruling in the German courts. And, according to Torrentfreak, because it was appealing the ruling, Uberspace wasn’t obliged to comply with the court order unless the majors posted a €20,000 bond.
It wasn’t initially clear whether that would happen, but at the end of last month the bond was posted, meaning that Uberspace was obliged to remove the youtube-dl web-page even while the appeal works its way through the system.
Uberspace owner Jonas Pasche told Torrentfreak: “I received information from the plaintiff’s side on 27 Jul, with proof that they did the security deposit at a bank. So I no longer have a choice but to follow the judgment. Otherwise, I would face a fine of €250,000 or jail time”.
Confirming that his company continues to appeal the ruling, he added: “We are confident that a higher court will overturn the judgment of the Hamburg Regional Court, [and] we will be able to unblock the site as soon as this happens”.