Google YouTube Targets MP3 Ripping Websites


Google is flexing its legal muscles against websites that extract MP3 audio from YouTube videos

A website that extracts MP3 audio from YouTube videos is being threatened with the full force of Google’s legal powers.

TorrentFreak reports seeing , it has seen a letter from Google against one of the web’s largest YouTube conversion sites, namely YouTube.mp3, which reportedly gains 1.3 million hits per day.

Another ripping website, Music Clips, has also been threatened with a cease and desist letter from Google.

Audio Ripping

What the YouTube.mp3 website does is rip the audio track from YouTube videos, giving the end-user a resulting MP3 file that they can use to listen to the music. YouTube of course is a major content store for music videos, and Google says ripping this music is illegal.

YouTube.mp3 apparently rips music using YouTube’s API (application programming interface), in violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service (ToS). YouTube.mp3 denies it uses the YouTube API however.

TorrentFreak reports that Associate Product Counsel at YouTube Harris Cohen cited YouTube’s  ToS for its API, saying that offering any kind of service that allows YouTube content to be downloaded is prohibited.

Furthermore, Cohen reportedly underlines the fact that to “separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API” is forbidden, as is externally storing copies of YouTube content.

The websites were reportedly told that if they continue to violate these restrictions, there will be “legal consequences”. The site has seven days to comply.

Similar Practices?

But YouTube-mp3 has hit back in a blog posting by Philip (no last name), in which he pleaded for help from its users by petitioning Google, and accused Google News and Google Books of playing fast and loose with other people’s content.

“A few days ago we have received a cease and desist letter from Harris Cohen who is one of YouTube lawyers. Google is accusing us to threaten your safety and wanted us to close this service. If we wouldn’t comply they threatened to sue us,” wrote Philip, who reckons that 200 million people use services like his.

“We are asking us what has happened to Google. It wasn’t long ago they lived by their “don’t be evil” philosophy and did what the users wanted,” said Philip. “Nowadays they are ignoring millions of users but refer to their questionable good intentions if they are ignoring the “TOS” of others to increase their profitability.”

Philip then cited Google News, which has faced criticism from publishers for utilising their content and making money from it. For example in January Rupert Murdoch used Twitter to launch a broadside against Google, alledging that Google is a “piracy leader ” which “streams movies free” and “sells ads around them. Google dismissed Murdoch’s claims as “nonsense”.

Philip also cited Google Books, and said there are also publishers and authors that don’t want their books to be scanned.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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