June 19, 2012
Google Threatens To Sue YouTube Conversion Sites
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
If you´re like me, you love watching live performances of your favorite band on YouTube. After all, there are many good quality videos out there (depending on which band you´re looking for) of your favorite band playing a really awesome cover of that really awesome Radiohead song that you wouldn´t be able to find anywhere else. If you´re also like me and want to convert this YouTube video to an mp3, you head to your favorite YouTube conversion site and let the internet work its magic.
Well, much like many of the other music services to come and go before it, one YouTube conversion site may soon go way of the buffalo.
According to website Torrent Freak, Google is threatening to sue YouTube-mp3.org, a site which, according to Google´s own measurements, brings in about 1.3 million visitors every day. Google´s lawyers, on the other hand, are none too pleased about the site´s willingness to let you download potentially copyrighted material for free and have given the site 7 days to comply.
As explained by Torrent Freak, YouTube-mp3.org uses a few specific APIs provided by Google to allow web applications the ability to interact with YouTube.
However, Harris Cohen, Associate Product Counsel at YouTube writes in his letter to YouTube-mp3.org that the site violates the YouTube Terms of Service, (ToS) saying a service which allows content to be downloaded is strictly prohibited.
Going even further, Cohen says that the website´s functionality which allows users to “separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API” is also a strict no-no, just like externally storing videos ripped from YouTube. Cohen warns site owner “Phillip” that continuing to violate these terms will result in further legal action.
Phillip spoke with Torrent Freak, saying he attempted to set up a chat with Cohen to discuss how the site works, as well as explain how the site offers a service to all those millions of people.
Google, it seems, doesn´t negotiate with sites of YouTube-mp3.org´s ilk, as they´ve also blocked their servers from accessing YouTube.
“We would estimate that there are roughly 200 million people across the world that make use of services like ours and Google doesn´t just ignore all those people, they are about to criminalize them. With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google,” writes Phillip in an online plea to users.
Later in the same plea, Phillip also calls out Google for violating their own ToS in an apparent conflict with their “don´t be evil” mantra. Phillip lists Google´s News service, which he explains angered some German publishers when they realized the service would scrape the web for content and publish it on their own site. Continuing, Phillip seemingly compares his website to cassette recorders and DVRs, then mentions Google is creating software to do the same thing as YouTube-mp3.org.
Torrent Freak also reports that Google may be targeting other YouTube converter sites as well, an unenviable task as a cursory search yields many results.
Interestingly, in researching this piece, I tried to use the site, converting a video of my favorite band covering one of my favorite Radiohead songs. I was able to download it with ease and am currently listening to the tune in my iTunes library. I then tried a different song, but to no avail.