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RIAA Goes After CNET For Media-Conversion Software 257

First time accepted submitter moj0joj0 writes "Two days after, a site that converts songs from music videos into MP3 files, was blocked from accessing YouTube, the RIAA has asked CNET to remove software from that performs a similar function. The RIAA focused its criticism on software found at called YouTubeDownloader. The organization also pointed out that there are many other similar applications available at the site, 'which can be used to steal content from CBS, which owns' CNET's policy is that is not in any position to determine whether a piece of software is legal or not or whether it can be used for illegal activity." For a sufficiently broad definition of "steal," you could argue that all kinds of software (from word processors to graphics programs to security analysis tools) could be implicated.
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RIAA Goes After CNET For Media-Conversion Software

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  • by Bigsquid.1776 ( 2554998 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @05:58PM (#40404509)
    Don't these dorks know there is not much difference between streaming and downloading.
  • Draw me a line (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:00PM (#40404539) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to know where the RIAA/MPAA draw the line. Does skipping ads on radio and TV count as theft? How about just channel surfing during the ad-break, or getting up and making some coffee? Or just hitting "mute"?

    Does remembering a song in my head count as ripping them off if I don't also own the CD? If I go to a friend's house is it wrong to listen to or borrow their CDs and DVDs, or watch their cable TV?

    I can buy a portable DVD player and take my discs with me. How is it any different if I rip the discs to watch on my phone or laptop. If I own a DVD but can't be bothered to rip it to my phone is it okay to download a .torrent version? The MPAA's members put all sorts of DRM crap on the disc to make ripping harder, making the download more attractive.

    If I buy a DRM locked song and the seller turns off their DRM servers so I can't play it any more is downloading an MP3 from The Pirate Bay morally acceptable?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:02PM (#40404559)

    Holy shit. How much software can NOT be used for illegal activity?

    $ ls /usr/bin /bin /usr/local/bin | wc -l

    Betting all of that could be "used for illegal activity". Never mind that there are maybe half a dozen media format conversion tools in that list, but check THIS out - there's a tool called g++. With it, I can CREATE tools that could be used for illegal activity, such as media format conversion. It's a meta-illegal tool. Man... posting anonymously, so they don't come after me.

  • You can argue however you want that it is right or wrong. But, it is not theft. That is, you do not deprive another person of access to their possession.

    I've always hated theft. It is one of the 10 commandments. I grew up learning to hate it because people stole from me. When someone steals your bike, your wallet, or other personal possessions, it hurts. You are now deprived of it, while someone else is selling it for $10 of crack. Stealing hurts innocent people. I continue to hate stealing.

    But, if I paint my bike blue, and my next door neighbor, seeing that, paints his bike blue, he didn't steal my bike. I can call him a "copy cat". But, I still get to ride my bike. I just won't be the only one on the block with a blue bike.

    Yes, we all know the theory of lost sales. But, we all know that copying information does not mean that the person would of purchased that copy of that information if they had not of copied it against the will of someone claiming ownership of that information.

    Thus, I lose respect for anyone who tries to insist that copying information is a violation of the 10 commands along with "though shall not kill" and "though shell not commit adultery". Our laws do not support that claim, and we should do more to discredit those who make it.

    Don't get me wrong. I do not advocate copyright infringement. I am just tired of hearing people try to confuse people into thinking that copying information is hurting people like stealing real physical property does and is a violation of one of the 10 commandments.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:13PM (#40404703)

    Probably not. I actually have a non-infringing (I think) use for these tools. My old Mac G5 has no Flash updates anymore - it's not supported. Most of the time it doesn't matter, but every once in a while I have to download the video so that I can view it with VLC.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:18PM (#40404775)

    I always download songs because I've seen instances where the record company yanked the song off youtube (example: most of Prince's songs). I learned to backup my favorite 70s/80s-era songs so that, if I can no longer access them via youtube, I can still hear them when I like.

  • by vik ( 17857 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:19PM (#40404781) Homepage Journal

    I'm a Youtube content creator. I want people to download and share my Youtube content. Does this mean my right to share stuff should be trumped by a vague notion of piracy?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:52PM (#40405139)

    I have to download the video so that I can view it with VLC.

    I'm fairly confident that VLC can accept a Youtube URL and stream/play the video without downloading as a separate step.

  • by SuperTechnoNerd ( 964528 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:30PM (#40406073)
    I tried to explain it to a friend (a digital neophyte) and he said.. "Well they got to make money too...."

    I explained it to my 84 year old father and he said "Hail Hitler!"

    He got it..
  • by bane2571 ( 1024309 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:19AM (#40407545)
    Format shifting is perfectly legal in Australia - Such as copying a TV broadcast to VHS. So these programs are completely legal in every way here. Does the US not have something similar? Are you guys really that backward about copyright?
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:08AM (#40408595) Journal
    The law is more concerned with intent than technical mechanism. This allows the same law to cover deliberately killing someone with a rifle or a car, but remarkably similar actions by accident are covered under different laws.

    The intent of visiting youTube is to stream videos. The intent of this software is to download (and presumably keep a permanent copy of) videos.

    Since the RIAA only has rights to a relatively small number of the videos on youTube, and we have no idea whether all the other millions of users it's hard to make the case that the intent of this software is music piracy. If youTube has explicit terms about downloading rather than streaming, then youTube might be able to argue tortuous interference with contract or something but the RIAA has no standing.
  • by xenobyte ( 446878 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:14AM (#40408617)

    Copyright infringement DOES hurt people.

    There are two parts to "stealing" and I noticed you only concentrated one half the issue. While you may not deprive someone of their property, you do gain something.

    Really? - Copyright holders are getting HURT because I gain a copy, despite that it in no way deprives them of the original? - How do you figure?

    Oh, and please don't insult everybody's intelligence by stating that the copy represents a value, like a lost sale or similar. That would require an ironclad certainty that the copy is used by someone that with 100% certainty would have paid for it if it wasn't available for free. If the copy is used by a freeloader who would never pay for it, or if a legal sale is unavailable, the argument is null and void. As most illegal filesharing is done by people for exactly these two reasons (it's free or unavailable for purchase), it cannot be called stealing or theft as there's no loss.

  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:28AM (#40408693)

    The organization also pointed out that there are many other similar applications available at the site, 'which can be used to steal content from CBS, which owns'

    Yeah, CBS is also going to be real happy about this.

    Now even less people will download their adware/malware [] infected wrappers. That can't be good for's business model.

    It's one thing for the RIAA to go after little kids for downloading music, it's another thing entirely to go after its own members (but then again, CBS is probably just a member of MPAA, not RIAA, so may be I just answered my own question).

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers