TorrentFreak reports that Google is going after one of the largest YouTube conversion sites on the internet: YouTube-MP3.org. Google says the site pulls in 1.3 million visitors every day who use YouTube-MP3.org to rip songs straight from music videos so that they don't have to purchase tracks from Google Play or Apple's iTunes.
According to the report, Harris Cohen, Associate Product Counsel at YouTube, sent a letter to YouTube-MP3.org site owner "Philip" saying that the use of YouTube's API -- which provides web developers with access to certain YouTube features -- to download video is against Google's Terms of Service.
"[To] separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API [is forbidden]," Cohen wrote. He then said that by continuing to violate the restrictions, Google will be forced to file a legal complaint.
YouTube-mp3 was given seven days to comply.
Site owner "Philip" reportedly replied to the letter with an explanation of his own, detailing how the site works and how it serves tens of millions of users. He offered to talk to YouTube over the phone to "discuss the matter further," but Google instead blocked YouTube-MP3′s servers from accessing YouTube.
"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," Philip told TorrentFreak. "With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google."
Later Philip reported that YouTube-MP3.com doesn't even use Google's API, but obtains videos by other means.
Obviously Google deems itself responsible for the content hosted on its servers, whether they're uploaded by teens with a new webcam or a record company promoting its library of musicians. Google gives each user the tools to manage how their content is shared, monetized and generally displayed.
However tools offered by the likes of YouTube-MP3.com do nothing more than steal, and Google reportedly has its sights set on similar services. The company plans to deliver the same message: continue to violate the ToS, and suffer the legal consequences. Whether this movement is fueled by the complaints of content owners is unknown, but the company still has a long road ahead.