It’s actually surprising this thing has lasted as long as it has, but now that Google’s turned its attention towards the YouTube-MP3.com conversion site, it’s doubtful the service will be in existence much longer, at least under its current guise. The site does exactly what it says it does. That is, it rips the audiotrack from a YouTube video and converts it to the MP3 format, which can then be downloaded by the user who prompted the conversion.
As pointed out by TorrentFreak, Google has apparently dropped a lawsuit threat on the site’s owners, which, from their perspective, is completely understandable. Considering all the intellectual property/copyright issues Google has faced with YouTube, the idea of them going after a site that makes a form copyright infringement, one that makes use of YouTube’s content, only makes sense. It’s actually more surprising that it took this long for Google to act.
A quick WhoIs search reveals the service in question–YouTube-MP3.org–has been registered since September 2009, meaning it took Google almost three full years to respond. In the meantime, the service has converted untold amounts of YouTube content into downloadable MP3s. Even better, the site uses the YouTube API to rip the soundtrack out of the video “submitted” by the user. As far as the “untold amounts” go, the TorrentFreak article also reveals the service gets around 1.3 million viewers a day, which is an incredible amount of potential infringement, courtesy of YouTube’s content.
To their credit, and my surprise, the site owners aren’t just turning tail and running away. Instead, they are trying to negotiate with Google, intimating that their service serves a lot users. The site owner, who goes by “Philip,” had this to say to TF’s author:
“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.”
Seeing how Google is going directly after the site owner, I’m not sure his “200 million users” reasoning is accurate. Google doesn’t seem to care about those that use the service. They just want the site itself to stop ripping audiotracks out of YouTube files, which, considering Google’s position, is reasonable enough.
To that point, the article also reveals the YouTube-MP3.org (pretty slick move going with the .org TLD) has been blocked by Google from accessing YouTube and its content; although, their efforts don’t appear to working that well. Before posting this article, I tested the service to see if it still works. The answer, as the upcoming screenshot indicates, is a resounding yes:
So much for blocking the service from YouTube’s content. Maybe this, like other Google updates, is undergoing a gradual rollout.