Google wanted to stop YouTube-MP3.org last month from ripping audio embedded in YouTube’s videos, but the conversion website’s 21-year-old owner is not ready to roll over and admit defeat.
YouTube-MP3.org received a letter from the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company last month that threatened to take legal action. Google’s video-sharing platform is free and provides content that is embeddable or accessible through its API, while YouTube-MP3.org is also free and pulls audio from YouTube videos. The website then converts those files into downloadable MP3s. Apparently, despite the API that gives developers access to many features, pirating any sound directly violates YouTube’s Terms of Service agreement.
The June 8 “cease and desist” letter from YouTube’s Associate Product Counsel Harris Cohen addressed the website’s Germany-based owner, Philip Matesanz. Cohen cited the platform’s terms for API in the legal notice, and he noted separating, isolating, or modifying “the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API” is strictly prohibited. Cohen warned of “legal consequences” for YouTube-Mp3.org, and he gave the website a week to comply. However, Google immediately blocked the website’s servers from accessing YouTube.
Matesanz took to his website yesterday, conveniently on the United States’ Independence Day, to give a “Situation Update” on the, well, situation:
After numerous reports questioning the legality of this service I have decided to get case studies from two highly reputable lawyers in Germany to prove the difference. I have asked them to create English reports about the legal situation of this service and the accusations Google has made. They agree that there are no copyrights of a third party violated by providing this service and it has to be considered legal. It might be surprising to some but they also agree that all claims Google has brought up so far are not justified: There is no TOS violation. They even question if Google can take action against so called “YouTube Converters/Recorders” since they seem to be protected by federal law. Google would have to make massive changes to their public broadcasting service to demand that such services shut down e.g. no more embedded videos, restrict access to registered users who have agreed to the TOS[..]. There are also doubts about the legitimacy of the section Google is accusing me to violate: Section 6.1K is designed to abandon a fundamental right all German citizens have. According to federal law you have the unquestionable right to create a private copy of certain media; including YouTube. Google’s attempt to abrogate the rights of the public in their TOS has to be considered as illegal and is in a strong contrast to their public self-representation.
Matesanz further disclosed to readers that YouTube-mp3.org is officially operated through PMD Technologie UG, which is a company registered in Germany, and he has tried to contact Google “multiple times,” but all of his attempts have failed. A recent call to Google’s main legal head was even blocked by an assistant, Matesanz wrote, who claimed Google would only communicate in written form but allegedly did not respond to three e-mails sent.
“I don’t have any marketing or public relations experts […] I am just an IT guy with no experience whatsoever,” Matesanz added, while referring to the case as a “David vs. Goliath situation.”
The computer science student-turned-Google arch nemesis is now attempting to level the playing field with a petition on Change.org, where he asks Google to permit third-party recording services to access YouTube. The petition has over 343,000 signatures.
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