Google recently sent a threatening letter to a website that allows users to download and convert YouTube music videos into MP3s. According to CNET, YouTube-MP3.org received a letter from Google stating that it was in violation of YouTube’s terms of service. Google has also decided to block YouTube-MP3.org from accessing its servers.
Google has been under pressure from record companies to crack down on copyright violations of their music, and Google has spent a tremendous amount of money licensing songs so that YouTube users can freely use them in their videos.
The Recording Industry Assocation of America (RIAA) has been rather vocal in its criticism of YouTube’s copyright issues. One of those issues is the openness of its videos, which allows other sites to “rip” media, both video and audio from content.
While attempting to stave off criticism from the RIAA, Google has also made efforts to keep itself open and champion the rights of its content creators and users. In doing so, it walks a very fine line, one that has often seen the public on one side of the battlefield and the RIAA on the other.
This ban of YouTube-MP3.org may not be the only one Google dishes out, since there are many sites similar to it. For Google, it will be difficult to maintain a good reputation with YouTube users while also protecting itself legally from the RIAA, which is notorious for its copyright lawsuits.
“We have always taken violations of our Terms of Service seriously,” said a YouTube spokesman, “and will continue to enforce these Terms of Service against sites that violate them.”
YouTube has changed the method in which its videos are delivered more than once, and most of the sites that rip content continuously adapt to it. If the letters do not dissuade them, Google may be forced to take legal action in the future.