Domain: stafaband.info (formerly audiocastle.net, audiocastle.co)
Registration: Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc., Kirkland, WA (US)
Hosting Provider: Delta Softmedia Ltd (Bulgaria)
Registrar: eNom, Inc.
Revenue Sources: Advertising, malware install programs, revenue sharing with redirects to third party sites.
Audiocastle characterizes itself as an urban music site that is updated daily with the hottest urban music, videos, and albums. The home page also provides a telling disclaimer that states “We do not claim any of the materials that we upload and any copyright infringement complaints will be executed immediately! It is our policy to honor all take-down requests!” The operators acknowledge that they upload the content and thus are direct infringers of copyrighted works. Honoring takedown requests does not absolve them of liability. Moreover, it is clear they simply don’t “honor” takedown notices as anything that is removed is simply reuploaded to ensure the files remain available through the site. Until recently the operators of the site uploaded the infringing files to a hosting site Sharebeast.com. When that site was seized by the Justice Department last month, and all of their files became unavailable, the site simply moved their files to a new service, dopefile.com to ensure that downloads would remain available to users.
The RIAA has sent the site over 50,000 infringing URLs for removal but files remain available. The Google Transparency Report reveals that Google has removed just over 146,000 infringing audiocastle URLs from its search index. The jumping from audiocastle.net to audiocastle.co and now audiocastle.me domain names is likely in response to Google’s demotion of the domain in search results. Each time one of their domains is demoted from the top search results, the site is able to quickly reappear in the top search results simply by registering audiocastle with a new top level domain.
Audiocastle has a global Alexa ranking of 23,449. According to SimilarWeb traffic data, the site is averaging 7 million visits a month with 55% of that traffic coming from the United States.