Yet more court action looms large on the horizon, this time from search engine giants Google, who apparently decided enough is enough and threatened legal action against one of the biggest Youtube download websites.
According to a report in TorrentFreak, Google wrote a letter to the owners of YouTube-MP3.org, pointing out that it’s in violation of YouTube’s terms of service, and that if such action continues, it’s determined to have its day in court.
For those who haven’t yet checked it out, YouTube-MP3.org is a very simple tool that allows us to convert any video from YouTube into an MP3 file, before downloading it straight to our hard drive, iPod, MP3 player or any other device. This is something that an average of 400,000 people a day have been doing since the site came into being around three years ago.
Of course, such a practice is obviously a breach of copyright, but what’s surprising about all this is that Google has apparently only decided to take action now, despite YouTube-MP3.org and other, similar sites having been getting away with this for years. According to the article in TorrentFreak, it may well be that Google just didn’t care, and is only taking action after being pressured by unhappy record companies.
Whatever the reason behind Google’s change of heart, now they’ve decided they’re not tolerating it anymore, they’re getting tough. As well as sending out a letter threatening court action, the internet giant has apparently also put a block on YouTube-MP3.org’s servers from accessing YouTube, although when we checked we found the site was still working perfectly, so obviously Google will need to look at that again…
TorrentFreak speculates that several similar websites are also going to be targeted with similar action, although that might well turn into mission impossible, given the fact that a Google search for the term “YouTube MP3” throws up some 4.2 million results.
Interestingly, and to his credit, the owner of YouTube-MP3.org, who rather mysteriously only gives his name as ‘Phillip’, isn’t taking Google’s action lying down. ‘Phillip’ would of course be forgiven for quickly rolling over in the face of such a powerful enemy, but instead it appears as if he’s ready to take them all on, posting a plea for help on his website together with the following statement:
“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.”
All very admirable from ‘Phillip’ to be sure, but I’d be surprised if he gets away with it for much longer.