Google-owned YouTube has become a central viewing area for many music videos, lyrics videos, and user-uploaded cover songs, and now the company is threatening to sue a number of web sites that offer to convert the audio from videos into downloadable mp3s.
According to a report at TorrentFreak, sites such as YouTube-Mp3.org and Music-clips.net have received letters indicating that their services allow users to download material from YouTube, which violates the company's terms of service. The sites allow users to input a YouTube link and receive a download with the video's audio, essentially ripping the music from a music video or movie scene.
Web developers that use YouTube's API also run into additional API ToS, which prohibits applications from "separat[ing], isolat[ing], or modify[ing] the audio or video components" of their videos.
YouTube-Mp3.org does not use YouTube's API, but Google is targeting them anyway, sending them a letter June 8 threatening legal action if they did not shut down in seven days. Google DoubleClick reports that the site receives 1.3 million hits per day.
There are a number of sites that provide the same function as YouTube-Mp3.org or Music-clips.net, and Google is seemingly rooting out a number of the biggest ones, saying they have a mandate from their users to protect how the content they upload to YouTube is shared and disseminated.
YouTube-Mp3.org is fighting back against Google's tactics, with site owner "Philip" posting to the page, "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 created their TOS everyone of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google."