According to new research by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and PRS for Music, stream-ripping is the fastest-growing form of music piracy, with some 15 per cent of adults in the UK regularly using these services.
Stream-ripping sites allow users to illegally turn Spotify songs, YouTube videos and other streaming content into permanent files that are then available to be stored offline on their devices.
The survey revealed more than 30 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 24 regularly use stream-ripping services, which have increased in popularity by more than 141 per cent since 2014.
However, a number of the world’s biggest record labels, such as Universal, Sony and Warner Bros have already begun clamping down on illegal YouTube ripping sites.
In September last year, these sites were used 498,681 times to pirate music in the UK. By comparison, file-sharing service BitTorrent was used 23,567 times; and Cyberlocker sites like Dropbox and Rapidshare were accessed 104,898 times.
A spokeswoman for the IPO said that as soon as the authorities come up with an innovative solution to piracy, the pirates seem to come up with an even more innovative infringement tactic.
However, ignorance on the part of consumers might be to blame for the rise in piracy, with only just over half saying they felt confident in identifying illegal content online and a quarter believing the sites they used had the necessary right to allow them to download and rip content.
Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive at the PRS for Music, said: “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 co-ordinated industry and government approach to tackling stream ripping is essential.”
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