Google bans website that rips MP3s from Youtube

Anyone who is familiar with Youtube and has been watching and/or hearing music online would be quite familiar with such instances where we see many websites implicitly infringing copyrights (as touchy as this subject may be). Some websites even consider their activity to be something heroic.

Though there have been lawsuits filed and websites brought down all this time because of infringement, Google issuing notice to YouTube-MP3[dot]org is now one of the major headlines around us. The site, YouTube-MP3[dot]org, used to rip MP3s from Youtube videos and provided the ripped MP3s for download via their website. This type of cease and desist notices happen all the time; so you may be wondering what is so special about this website particular website that we are writing about it. Well, we aren’t so sure ourselves; all we know is a blog post by TorrentFreak (which claims to have seen the letter from Google) brought this issue into the public domain (no pun intended) and has since spread like wildfire.

In any case, Google has banned the server of YouTube-MP3[dot]org from accessing Youtube, thus stopping any ‘further ripping’ by the website.

Google has always been a supporter of free content culture and has stood against Internet censorship (for the most part, any way). But Google also has to keep their good relation with the premium section of the media to keep themselves in the top position when it comes to talking about ‘Internet’. This move may well be Google succumbing to Big Entertainment’s pressure:

The top four record companies have pressured YouTube for many months to do more to thwart the scores of MP3 conversion services. In December, the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group representing the top record labels, noted the problem with these sites in a “report card” it issued on how well Google protects copyrighted material online.

Also, the RIAA wrote: “YouTube hosts videos explaining how to ‘game’ the Content ID system, and how to rip the audio content to create an MP3 file from a music video.”

As said above, while clearly this ain’t a lone case, as a user of the Internet, everyone needs to be aware of what they are involved in and what their actions imply when they download an MP3 from sites such as YouTube-MP3[dot]org.

[via CNET]

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10 comments

  1. Steve Gad

    @Bruce Fraser:

    I agree. The commercial music vids should be elsewhere as YT concept was supposed to be the ordinary guy in the street having a platform for their ideas. Once again record companies have dictated terms in a forum they have no business being on in the first place. I supported Google from day 1 and once they outgrow their boots they bite the very hands that put them on top. If I want to download an amateur short or music video from an unsigned act to play at my own gigs, then why not as it helps the creator a little each time.I have no interest in chart music, but my YT experience is now run by these people. As I already said it should now be called “THEIR TUBE”.

  2. Steve Gad

    For me its crippled to very concept of You Tube, which I thought was to “Broadcast yourself” not have it as a platform for commercial video’s. Once again the record companies have crushed aspiring amateurs underfoot.
    Commercial and chart video has no place on YT and now anyone wanting to download an amateur movie song, or short is unable to, simply because You Tube has allowed itself to be hijacked by big business. It should now be called “Their Tube”.

  3. newJason

    The Studios have shot themselves in the foot so many times on this over and over again. They were simply too ignorant or unwilling to spend the money to protect their content from the get go. Years and years ago when we were making the switch from Analog to digital mediums, everything had to be copied from an analog source and digitized. It took long hours copying the content and deciding what way to deliver it to the public. Microsoft had always insisted that the content providers use DRM (encryption keys) when encoding your content to digital, but most of the studios were either too stubborn or too lazy or (who knows the reason), to do it. So It became common practice to not encrypt the content. Well, here we are years later and the studios still Insist on releasing their product with little or no protection whatsoever. Any attempts now to try to implement such a system ( meaning, pay for a license to download a copy) will be laughed at by the consumer. In order for this to work properly now, will mean a complete overhaul of the way content is distributed.
    Can you as a user accept the studios telling you now that you must buy a different digital player and media centrer so that the content company can charge you a fee to buy their product? Probably not If it means throwing away your DVR,DVD, and CDR. So, What can they do?
    Blame someone else?. Sure. blame Google, blame users, blame whoever, but it still changes nothing. Youtube is a conduit for SHARING content. What do the studios expect when they set product out there for the taking, and then cry foul when people take it. If you leave the doors open, why are they not protecting the content rights themselves? It’s not the Job of google, or anyone else to protect content, it is solely the content producers responsibility to make their product secure against pirating, plain and simple.
    Microsoft is a good example of this system, If you want Windows, or Office, You buy a License to use and obtain a copy, you can use it for yourself, and you can not resell it for a profit. While the system is not perfect, it protects Micrcosoft and their content from dimple mass copy and re distribution.
    you don’t see the first person to buy the new Windows OS go home and Post it on you tube or rapidshare for everyone else to take it for free, right? (i know, it happens, but not like multimedia)Why are the content studios any less liable than everyone else?
    Censoring the Internet Is not the Answer, forcing youtube to do your content protection is $%&%! and backwards.
    When youtube is forced to censor and monitor everything that is uploaded and downloaded on its servers, it will become impractical, and un profitable, and then youtube will simply go out of buisness.
    Its all a backward mess that is going to implode should this nonsense continue. Sadly, it sometimes takes a huge mistake to learn the err of our ways.. Content Producers need to catch up fast, but i fear it is too late for changes this drastic to be implemented anytime soon. :(

  4. meldasue

    @Bruce Fraser: YouTube has agreements in place with the major record companies – they get a certain percentage of profits and links to iTunes and Amazon downloads are placed on videos identified as containing proprietary content.

    Renewal talks stalled with one of the Big 4 – Warner, I think – a couple of years ago, and videos that used songs owned by Warner went silent – you could still watch them, but you couldn’t hear the music.

    It also depends on your country – they don’t have the same arrangement with Sony in Germany, so videos may be blocked or silent for people who live in Germany.

  5. sl0wj0n

    While I support the LEGAL aspect of this situation, I have to say the record companies are only going to disembowel themselves, by being excessively greedy.
    There are quite a number of websites, and online services, too, that don’t seem to understand how the ‘net works.
    When we ‘visit’ a website, we just use our browser to send a request for the FILE that represents that site.
    That file is then sent to our computer, where our browser then displays that file.
    Doesn’t matter if that file is a webpage, picture or graphic, a video, or music, that file is then loaded into our browser, which displays the file in the normal, accepted way for that type of file. [If its not found, we see a 4o4.]
    So, by the time we can see or hear that file, its ALREADY on our computer!
    If some company, or website, has a Terms Of Service that says, it violates the usage agreement to download files, you have already downloaded the file that says that.
    Now, when the file is one that has a legal limitations on how it can be distributed, just placing that file on a computer server may violate the TOS/TOU for that file. Rarely, the format of the file will be the deciding factor.
    If that file has a legal limitation, then anyone violating the TOS/TOU may be legally liable.
    Most courts would apply the liability to the entire chain of possession, so that anyone, anywhere under that court’s jurisdiction that has an illegal copy of the file could be prosecuted.
    The key is whether or not the copy is legal.
    The fact is, some times the file is legal, and other times it may not be.
    IF we have a legitimate copy, we can use as we like, except where doing that would again violate the TOS/TOU.
    IF I visit Youtube, and click on a link to “The Ballard of Curtis Lowe”, by Lynard Skynard, when I see the video and hear the song, theoretically, I have to click the link again, if I want to experience it again.
    But in reality, the file is still on my computer from the first time.
    I could use freeware to find, play, or convert that file to another format.
    But will that change the legal nature of the file? NO, its still the same information, and its still covered by the original COPYright.
    So, I recommend that we all make sure the RIAA can’t find illegal files on your computer, because Flame could be hi-jacked, and redirected to find copies of copyrighted material, on our computers.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  6. Bruce

    The music industry railed against cassettes. In some countries they managed to get a law that provided them a cut on the sale of blank tapes, simply on the assumption that they were going to be used to copy copyrighted material. They killed the Digital Audio Tape (DAT) before it even came to the market.

    It continued through video tapes and right up to the present.

  7. cmpm

    If songs are so precious then what about comments?

    I had thought that as long as one is not using a ripped mp3 or video for profit then there is no harm done.

    Back in the ‘cassette’ days, duplicators were sold by the thousands.
    I still have one! Lol!

    The music industry is being foolish and could make it worse for themselves.
    Cause we are the listeners, without us, they have nothing.

  8. Bruce

    @ The other Bruce: Yes, the typical ‘music video’ on Youtube is simply the audio from a real song, spliced in with a few pictures of the artist or the record jacket. I’ve even seen some that show a video of a record going around on a turntable.

  9. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @Bruce Fraser: I’m not lawyer but from what I understand the disagreement revolves around two things.

    Firstly, what constitutes infringement? A kid singing Justin Beiber’s latest song or an obvious rip of a music video?

    Secondly, who should bear the cost of having to police these videos? Is it fair to ask Youtube to bear the burden of removing infringed videos or is it up to the content owners to submit take down requests?

    Food for thought.

  10. Bruce Fraser

    Anyone can download a YouTube video, then use one of dozens of free conversion utilities to extract the sound to an MP3 file.
    What I find astonishing is that YouTube is allowed to have these music videos in the first place, with everyone — including the music producers — knowing this is going to happen.
    One could say the same thing about the online radio stations, although I am not familiar with them.