The music industry has opened fire on audio-stream rippers.
A copyright-infringement lawsuit has been filed in California by a clutch of Warners labels and is targeted at YouTube-mp3.org and its alleged proprietor Philip Matesanz of Germany. The website offers to convert YouTube vids to MP3 files, for free, which allows people to keep copies of official and unofficial music videos – sans ads, of course.
It’s no surprise: music industry body IFPI’s research finds that piracy via the ripping of soundtracks from video streams now exceeds piracy via file downloads. For more on that, see our previous coverage: Daddy, what's 'P2P file sharing’?
“Really surprised it's lasted as long as it has to be honest,” is the top Reg reader comment on that story. Since the YouTube-MP3.org service extracts the audio stream from videos and makes a copy on its servers, proving the alleged infringement should be straightforward. The lawsuit also claims that the dot-org circumvents Google’s rolling encryption designed to thwart stream rippers.
Spotify has moved swiftly to plug holes that allow ripping. The "downloadify" Chrome plugin was rapidly squashed. And when Spotify noticed that it was possible to convert files in a local DRM-protected music cache to unencumbered MP3s, it moved swiftly to plug that hole. Google hasn’t tried nearly so hard, and that’s a gripe in the lawsuit.
The legal paperwork also notes that Google provides financial support to the ripper, which benefits from Google’s AdSense and DoubleClick advertising services: YouTube-mp3.org is plastered with web ads meaning its operator makes bank while punters nick copyrighted work. ®