Sharebeast.com, the largest illegal music-sharing site in the U.S., was seized by the Department of Justice on Friday, and its services shutdown; its site has been replaced with a warning banner from the FBI.
In a related case, the website Albumjams.com and mp3pet.com have also been shuttered by the FBI and both sites now display the warning notice.
The website Sharebeast is reported to have been in the possession of a massive library of popular music albums and tracks. Industry officials say the site was guilty of leaking thousands of songs before they were officially released.
The Recording Industry Association of America praised the action by the FBI and DOJ in dismantling the file-sharing website in a statement on its website.
“This is a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services. Sharebeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace. Millions of users accessed songs from Sharebeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels and others who created the music. We are grateful to the FBI and the Department of Justice for its strong stand against Sharebeast and for recognizing that these types of illicit sites wreak major damage on the music community and hinder fans’ legitimate listening options.”
Sharebeast famously hosted Kanye West’s album SWISH before it was released after an alleged leak last May.
The recording industry alone reported more than 100,000 incidents of file sharing from Sharebeast, while a 2014 report listed it among the top 250 websites for pirated music, according to Ars Technica.
On a related note, the Switzerland based sharing site RapidShare shut down voluntarily earlier this year, while Grooveshark was forced to close due to mounting legal pressure.
Meanwhile, the huge file-sharing site The Pirate Bay continues its existence, despite repeated attempts by European authorities to shut it down. In May the site posted a defiant logo depicting a many-headed hydra with different domain names above it in a clear message that it will continue to operate despite impending legal battles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In good news for file-sharing enthusiasts, Popcorn Time, known as the “Netflix for pirated movies,” can now be used straight from a web browser without the need to download the shady looking streamer app, according to Business Insider.