Google recently wrote a letter on June 8 to the owner of the website Youtube-MP3.org, stating that it must stop its activities within seven days of Google’s letter. Youtube-MP3.org is a site devoted to converting Youtube videos to audio MP3s, that is widely popular, accessed by 1.3 million people each day.
Google and Youtube argue that Youtube-MP3.org, and other similar sites, violate Youtube’s terms of service conditions that explicitly state that any downloading of Youtube content is not allowed. Additionally, the argue that modifying and storing any Youtube content is also not allowed and that they may bring legal action if Youtube-MP3.org continues to allow people to violate these terms.
While the owner of Youtube-MP3.org has attempted to contact Youtube’s counsel to negotiate its continued existence, Google has blocked all Youtube-MP3.org servers from being able to access Youtube, thus effectively shutting down the site.
The owner of Youtube-MP3.org and Google have opposing views on this issue. Youtube-MP3.org’s owner thinks that it is not right that Google is trying to criminalize every one of an estimated 200 million people who use Youtube-MP3.org and similar sites, whereas Google states it has a responsibility to protect the interests of the people who have uploaded content on to Youtube. Several content owner have sued sites like Youtube-MP3.org in the past.
It will be interesting to see what legal consequences Google will bring on other sites that allow for downloading of content from Youtube and conversion to MP3 files. While Google has blocked Youtube-MP3.org’s servers from accessing Youtube, there are a number of other similar sites that do the same thing. Because of this, it will be very hard and time consuming for Google to first find out all of these sites, them block their servers from accessing Youtube. The only truly likely way Google can end these type of sites is by bringing legal action. This is an issue that will be closely monitored.