Two years after shutting down in the United States, Russian stream-ripping site FLVTO.biz is appealing the $83 million verdict against the site.
Major labels represented by the RIAA won a major victory against FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com. “The overall popularity of these sites and the staggering volume of traffic it attracts evidences the enormous damage being inflicted on the U.S. record industry,” the RIAA wrote in its lawsuit in 2021. FLVTO.biz attracted 94 million visits a month at the height of its popularity, with 12% of that traffic originating in the United States.
In 2021 a Virginia federal court issued a default judgment against operator Tofig Kurbanov after he failed to appear for his U.S. court date. The RIAA demanded $83 million in damages and the court granted that request. Now Kurbanov appears to be fighting back after more than two years based on a filing Digital Music News obtained from the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
A notice of appeal was filed back in March 2022, but lawyers for the case have been silent until now. It’s unclear how Kurbanov’s defense team will approach this case, but we do have a few hints. Lawyer Val Gurvits told TorrentFreak that his client intends to challenge the fact that FLVTO.biz can be held liable for millions of dollars in copyright infringement.
“If the record companies can really get multi-million dollar judgments without having to prove a single instance of infringement within the United States, then no one who operates a website is safe,” the lawyer said about the case at the time. It’s also unclear if that $83 million judgment accurately reflects the state of the website today.
Pulling the site up on SimilarWeb to check the traffic, we can see that it only gets around three million views per month now. That’s a far cry from the millions of views it commanded just three years ago—showcasing that the judgment and shutdown has curbed interest in stream ripping.