In its continued quest to keep the Internet piracy-free, the RIAA has seized the domain name of yet another MP3Skull site. However, it appears that their most recent target has nothing to do with the original service, so it's doubtful whether the music group's actions are legally sound.
Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against MP3Skull April last year.
With millions of visitors per month the MP3 download site had been one of the prime sources of pirated music for a long time. This frustrated many music industry insiders who claimed millions in losses.
Earlier this year a Florida federal court sided with the RIAA awarding the labels more than $22 million in damages. In addition, it issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site’s domain names.
Despite the million dollar verdict MP3Skull continued to operate for several months, using a variety of new domain names, which were subsequently targeted by the RIAA’s legal team.
The latest domain name it used was MP3Skull.vg. Initially, this served the original MP3 download portal, but late last month something changed.
All of a sudden, MP3Skull.vg redirected to MP3Skull.onl, an unrelated YouTube converter and direct download portal which has been operating independently for quite some time.
After some news articles started to confuse the two services, MP3Skull.onl was quick to distance itself from its namesake.
“In the past we read some articles about our service. Learn something: We are not the old mp3skull and not the owner,” the site’s operator wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know why mp3skull.vg is redirecting to us, I think they just gave up.”
Indeed, there are no signs that the two MP3Skull’s are connected. The old MP3Skull domains are associated with Emp3world.ch, which is still online, but there are no links to MP3Skull.onl as far as we can see.
However, despite this clarification the RIAA appears to have been confused as well, since they took action and seized the MP3Skull.onl domain name without warning.
The Whois information currently lists the RIAA as the domain registrant and the domain itself is no longer serving any content.
A source familiar with the situation informs TorrentFreak that the domain name was targeted using the original MP3Skull injunction. This means that the RIAA appears to have seized a domain name of an unrelated third party.
While there is ground to argue that the “other” MP3Skull was facilitating copyright infringement, in principle it should not be targeted by an injunction that’s issued against an entirely different site.
These type of ‘mistakes’ or broad applications, are exactly why digital rights activists protest broad website blocking efforts.
The YouTube MP3 converter and download site, meanwhile, has registered a new domain name and continues to operate from Mp3.skull.to. The original MP3Skull seems to have given up for good.
TorrentFreak contacted the RIAA for a comment on the situation but we have yet to hear back.