Stream-Ripper Yout Refiles Aggressive Lawsuit Against the RIAA After FLVTO and Y2mate U.S. Shutdowns
Last month, a federal court dismissed the aggressive lawsuit that Yout filed against the RIAA. Now, the Hartford, Connecticut-based stream-ripping giant has officially refiled the firmly worded complaint.
The underlying courtroom confrontation kicked off back in October of 2020, after the RIAA allegedly stated in a trio of DMCA takedown requests that Yout “circumvents” the Google-owned video-sharing platform’s rolling cipher. The rolling cipher aims “to protect copyrighted works by preventing…unlawful access to and reproduction of copyrighted works that YouTube streams,” according to legal filings.
But Yout fired back by claiming that it was “not designed to descramble, decrypt, avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair the YouTube rolling cypher technology,” before stating that “any digital mechanism in place designed as anti-circumvention technology stops Yout users from recording and saving that protected work.”
And in terms of the claims included in the stream-ripper’s lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the takedown notices had caused “third parties to believe Yout engaged and continues to engage in illegal and unlawful conduct,” besides purportedly constituting a violation of Title 17, Section 512(f) of the U.S. code. The latter derived from the DMCA’s safe-harbor law and involves “material” takedown-request misrepresentations.
The RIAA in January of 2021 pushed back against and urged the court to toss the action, indicating in part that the above-specified U.S. code section “creates a cause of action expressly limited to alleged misrepresentations regarding copyright infringement” – not circumvention.
And as mentioned, the presiding judge dismissed the suit without prejudice last month, giving Yout several weeks to produce an amended complaint.
The 35-page-long filing that the stream-ripping platform just recently submitted to a Connecticut federal court elaborates upon the previously highlighted arguments and reiterates both the relative simplicity of Yout’s functions and their non-infringing purposes, outside the music space and that of copyrighted media generally.
On this front, the “small percentage” of total content that the defendants have on YouTube – which, incidentally, accounts for a substantial portion of on-platform viewership, according to higher-ups – “can be publicly accessed without the use of any circumvention.”
To demonstrate the point, the plaintiff then discloses a step-by-step guide for downloading YouTube videos directly through Google Chrome by utilizing “developer tools” – a process that “could appear complicated,” but that is explained on “countless websites.”
“Yout’s software platform employs the same simple process of a manual download described above,” the filing proceeds. “Yout merely automates the process already available using common web browsers and simple publicly available instructions.”
Moreover, “Yout’s software platform contains no password, key, or other secret knowledge that is required to access YouTube videos. It simply uses the same mechanism that YouTube presents to each and every user who views a video using any user-side software,” the document relays. Yout is therefore unable to circumvent the rolling cipher, for “one cannot ‘circumvent’ an access control by using means that are available to all without the authority of the copyright owner,” per the plaintiff.
Lastly, Yout specifies that the defendants “acted with intent and actual malice when they engaged in the foregoing conduct because they intended to harm the” entity, with the takedown notices having potentially “caused PayPal to shut down Yout’s account.” Consequently, the plaintiff is now suing for defamation per se, business disparagement, and more.
The stakes appear particularly high for Yout in the case because both FLVTO.biz and Y2mate – two of today’s leading YouTube-to-MP3 converters – ceased operating in the United States and the United Kingdom last month.