Google has threatened legal action against a range of websites, including YouTube-MP3.org, which make it easy for users to rip audio from YouTube music videos. According to tech site TorrentFreak, Google warned the proprietor of YouTube-MP3.org that he had violated YouTube's terms of service – and gave him seven days to take the service offline.
Users cannot "separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API," YouTube counsel Harris Cohen reportedly told the man behind YouTube-MP3.org, who was identified by TorrentFreak only as "Philip." Philip is asking "for a call with YouTube to discuss the matter further," TorrentFreak reports.
YouTube-MP3.org is a pretty popular site, and for good reason: It allows users to quickly and easily create a downloadable MP3 file from a YouTube video. This provides a runaround of sorts to services such as iTunes and Spotify, where tracks must be purchased (or, in the case of Spotify, where you must listen to advertising in order to stream music for free).
"Over the years, YouTube has struck deals with record labels such as Warner Music Group and Universal to host music videos on the site," Newman writes. "Although the music is always free, most videos have links to buy the songs on iTunes, Google Play and AmazonMP3. The video is supposed to be promotional, but conversion sites provide a way to take the music with you at no charge -- a practice that surely riles copyright holders."
Scattered reports indicate that Google may be going after a wide range of sites that allow MP3-ripping – like YouTube-MP3.org – but the extent of the action is currently unclear.
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