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The days of being able to rip an MP3 file from the audio of a YouTube video are numbered as far as Google is concerned.
The search giant apparently sent a letter to one of the biggest offenders, YouTube-MP3-.org, to inform it that using the video site in this way violates YouTube’s terms of service, according to a letter obtained by TorrentFreak.
Sites like this work by separating the audio component from a YouTube video in an effortless process. Users simply plug in the YouTube URL of the video they wish to grab an audio file of, wait for the site to “convert” the file, and then download it to their hard drive. Some sites even let you choose the audio quality and meta data (album info, track numbers, artists, etc.) used in media players like iTunes.
I’m kind of surprised Google hasn’t taken action against these types of sites sooner. I’m also curious as to how it plans to stop them from ripping MP3s in the future. Logic –as well as a whole history of similar situations related to piracy — dictates that when you start clamping down on a particular method of piracy, the pirates just find a more clever solution.
For now, it seems that Google has blocked YouTube-MP3.org’s servers from accessing YouTube, which serves as a temporary solution. However, the major music labels are pressuring the company to do even more, which could mean a full lawsuit against YouTube-to-MP3 conversion sites that don’t shut down.
We’ve reached out to Google for further comment and will update the post with any new information.
Update 6/19/2012 (10:10 a.m. PT): A spokesperson from YouTube sent us the following statement pasted below:
We have always taken violations of our Terms of Service seriously, and will continue to enforce our Terms of Service against sites that violate them.