A Russian operator of two YouTube download websites has been ordered by a U.S. court to conduct extensive user data collection.
The Russian operator of two websites for downloading content on Youtube has been ordered by a district court in the US state of Virginia to take surveillance measures: He is to keep extensive logs of user activity and hand them over to the major record companies.
The music labels, including Universal, Warner Bros and Sony, argued in court with massive copyright infringements through the download of music videos as video or MP3 files. These would be used in the U.S. as well as in other countries. They accuse the two websites Flvto.biz and 2conv.com and their operator Tofig Kurbanov of aiding and abetting copyright infringement.
According to a report by the online magazine Torrentfreak, Kurbanov, unlike many other foreign site operators, defended himself with a team of lawyers in the US court. Arguing that the courts had no jurisdiction over a Russian site operator, he filed a motion to dismiss.
IP addresses and location data must be logged as well
The district court initially agreed with the argument and dismissed the lawsuit. However, the record companies successfully appealed. The case had to be heard again in the Virginia District Court. The record companies used this to demand information such as download statistics and location data from Kurbanov. However, the operator did not log such data and could not share it accordingly.
The court followed the music labels’ reasoning and obliged the defendant to activate the logs, collect and share the data. For all converted files, the labels want to obtain “documentation of any subsequent use, reproduction, storage, distribution or other disposition of the audio file, including the date and time the audio file was downloaded and the geographic location (i.e., state) of the user.”
Kurbanov worries about the privacy of his users by collecting IP addresses. The record labels countered that the IP addresses could be redacted. However, it is not clear from the court order whether data may be redacted. According to Torrentfreak, it is not clear from the court documents that the music labels wanted to use the data to track users of the website. However, this cannot be ruled out.