Stream-ripping now overshadows all other methods of illegal music piracy, a new report from PRS for Music and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) finds.
Research has revealed that the use of stream-ripping websites, which allow users to illegally create permanent offline copies of audio or video streams from sites such as YouTube, increased by 141.3 percent between 2014 and 2016.
In 2016, PRS for Music and the IPO jointly commissioned two separate studies by INCOPRO and Kantar Media to better understand stream-ripping and its impact on the UK market and online consumer behaviour.
YouTube was found to be the most popular source of content for these sites, used by 75 of the 80 stream-ripping services surveyed.
Soundcloud, Spotify and Deezer were among other popular licensed platforms most targeted.
While the majority of stream-ripping traffic was found to come from individuals actively seeking out illegal services, search engines also delivered a significant proportion of traffic to stream-ripping services.
In a survey of over 9,000 people, 57 percent of UK adults claimed to be aware of stream-ripping services and 15 percent claimed to have used a stream-ripping service.
Those who claimed to have used a stream-ripping service were significantly more likely to be male, ABC1 social grade, and between the ages of 16 to 34 years.
Of those surveyed, apps were identified as the most common type of stream-ripping service in terms of both awareness, 11 percent, and use, 54 percent.
Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS for Music, said: ‘We hope that this research will provide the basis for a renewed and re-focused commitment to tackling online copyright infringement. The long term health of the UK’s cultural and creative sectors is in everyone’s best interests, including those of the digital service providers, and a coordinated industry and government approach to tackling stream ripping is essential.’
Ros Lynch, IPO copyright and IP enforcement director, added: ‘It’s great that legal streaming sites continue to be a hugely popular choice for consumers. The success and popularity of these platforms show the importance of evolution and innovation in the entertainment industry.
‘Ironically it is innovation that also benefits those looking to undermine IP rights and benefit financially from copyright infringement. There has never been more choice or flexibility for consumers of TV and music, however illicit streaming devices and stream-ripping are threatening this progress.
‘Content creators deserve to be paid for their work – it is not a grey area. This government takes IP infringement extremely seriously and we are working with our industry partners and law enforcement to tackle this emerging threat.’