Google, the owner of YouTube, has decided to stand up to websites on the Internet that allow people to convert the portal’s videos to downloadable MP3 files. Two of the most important websites offering this service, youtube-mp3.org and music-clips.net, have already received letters warning that their actions violate the company’s conditions for use and requesting their closure for this reason. The mechanism of these portals is simple and fast: the YouTube link is entered and in a few seconds, you get an MP3 download link entirely free of charge.
On 8th June, youtube-mp3.org received a letter threatening legal action against it if it didn’t close in seven days. Today, with this time period having run out, it is still online. Google calculates that the portal receives 1.3 million hits a day, a level of traffic that is surely providing a significant income for the website in terms of publicity. The owner of the website has posted the following statement in response to Google’s threats: “We estimate that there are about 200 million people using services like ours throughout the world, and Google is not only ignoring them, but rather is about to criminalise them. […] All of those users run the risk of being sued by Google”. Another war is brewing.