Websites that allow MP3 files to be recorded from YouTube are feeling the wrath of the Chocolate Factory, and popular ripping site YouTube-mp3 is calling foul.
"Google is accusing us to threaten your safety and wanted us to close this service. If we wouldn't comply they threatened to sue us," said no-last-name Philip on YouTube.mp3's blog. "Unfortunately Google has just blocked all of our servers from accessing YouTube so we had to disable all conversion functionality."
Google is trying to criminalize the estimated 200 million people that use such services, Philip said, and pointed out that taking a recording in this way is legal in some countries. Google is also being hypocritical, he asserted, applying terms and conditions while digitizing books without the author's consent and borrowing headlines for Google News.
"We have always taken violations of our Terms of Service seriously," a YouTube spokesman told El Reg in an email, "and will continue to enforce these Terms of Service against sites that violate them."
A source familiar with the case said there was some surprise within Google that this issue had kicked off so publicly, although YouTube-mp3's public protest had obviously had an effect on the buzz. Google puts out plenty of these requests and has blocked services that strip out advertising from YouTbue in the past, and officially the company is saying that it's just business as usual.
But YouTube-mp3 and similar services are not new, so why the sudden crackdown? Google is certainly rolling out more persistent advertising on YouTube and could be looking to shut down anything that calls that into question. Advertisers are looking a lot more closely at internet traffic data these days, thanks in part to better BI tools, and there's downward pressure on rates.
There's also Hollywood to consider. The media moguls have learned to get along with YouTube, and now the service is looking to expand its access to films for sale as well as access to back-catalog material and the rights to stream live events.
YouTube-mp3 is calling for supporters and users to contact YouTube to express their concern, and Philip says: "If you are Larry Page or Sergey Brin: Contact me." ®