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YouTube Audio Ripping Website Takes On Google

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Owner of the YouTube-mp3.org ignores “cease and desist” letters from Google and launches public campaign against the search giant

Philip Matesanz, a 21 year old student of applied computer science and the sole owner of the YouTube-mp3.org website, has ignored  “cease and desist” letters from Google and has instead launched a public campaign against the company.

Matesanz operates an mp3 conversion service which extracts the audio tracks from content hosted on YouTube. After being threatened with a court case, he consulted legal professionals and now claims that Google had no right to block his website from accessing YouTube. He has also launched a petition which has already collected 334,361 signatures.

Fight the power

Earlier this month, Google had threatened legal action against YouTube-mp3.org which, according to the corporation, receives 1.3 million hits per day.

Google claimed that the website rips music using YouTube’s Application Programming Interface (API), a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service (ToS). YouTube.mp3 denied it was using the YouTube API, saying it is obtaining videos “by other means”.

In June, Matesanz received a “cease and desist” letter from Harris Cohen, an Associate Product Counsel at YouTube. The student was told that if he continues to violate the ToS of the video platform, there would be “legal consequences”. The site was given seven days to comply and Google also blocked all of YouTube-mp3′s servers from accessing YouTube.

Matesanz did not comply. Instead, he created a petition calling for Google to allow third party recording tools for YouTube, which has now been signed by 334,361 people. The student also accused Google of claiming content made by others as its own, through services like Google News and Google Books.

He claims to have contacted two “highly reputable” German lawyers, who have confirmed that Google doesn’t have the legal basis for a court case, since no copyrights of a third party or the ToS were violated by the website.

The lawyers have questioned if Google can take action against the so-called “YouTube Converters/Recorders” at all, since they seem to be protected by the German federal law. According to Matesanz, German citizens have a legal right to create a private copy of certain media, including YouTube videos.

“The right to make copies for private use is not affected by the fact that in its terms of use, YouTube declares unilaterally that it does not wish copies to be made,” said a statement from one of the lawyers, available online.

Matesanz has also brought attention to the fact that Google has recently released a YouTube app for its Android system that allows videos to be downloaded and stored offline.

Flipping Copies

The computer science student highlights that a very simple software application loaded into the browser can provide the same functionality as his website. Therefore, it is “technically not possible” for Google to stop its users from creating a copy of the video or audio content hosted on YouTube. “The whole service itself is that simple that every Windows PC comes with the tools to do it: an audio recorder,” said Matesanz.

“No matter what Google publicly states: They won’t be capable to stop their users from making use of such a service. It’s technically not possible and it’s just plain logic that there will be software as long as there is the demand,” he added.

The owner of the website has warned that profit-oriented companies registered somewhere like the Cayman Islands could take over this niche of the market. “They won’t have a problem with spreading malware, showing pornographic ads to minors, advertising gambling or fake medicine, tricking their users into hidden costs and lots of other despicable things as long as the paycheck is big enough.”

Matesanz said he received offers for his business several times, but refused to sell it.

YouTube-mp3.org is officially operated trough PMD Technologie UG – a company registered in Germany. The owner claims that over 65 percent of all page-impressions on the website never had a single advertisement on them, unlike many other similar Internet destinations.

Matesanz  says he tried to get in touch with Google several times, but the various departments have ignored his calls, and most of his e-mails. At the time of publishing, Google had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s request for comment.

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  1. This is so out of hand. Google keeps raising the number of signers needed. I think google should really stop being a dick and respect peoples rights.

  2. I believe it’s true that YouTube-mp3.org doesn’t use Google’s API, I’ll bet their software causes each requested video to play, then captures the stream. That’s how downloadable YouTube rippers do it, and it’s a lot easier and faster than using the APIs of sites when they may close at any time with new ones springing up to take their places. I can understand Google’s belief that their API is being used, but that erroneous belief is probably based on the fact that it’s the most targeted site by users of these tools as a result of its ubiquity. I’ll bet if you ask people to name one video sharing website, “Vimeo” is ^not^ the first thing out of the mouths of most of them, it’s “YouTube”.