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YouTube-MP3 Ripping Site Sued By IFPI, RIAA and BPI (torrentfreak.com) 310

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Two weeks ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry published research which claimed that half of 16 to 24-year-olds use stream-ripping tools to copy music from sites like YouTube. The industry group said that the problem of stream-ripping has become so serious that in volume terms it had overtaken downloading from 'pirate' sites. Given today's breaking news, the timing of the report was no coincidence. Earlier today in a California District Court, a huge coalition of recording labels sued the world's largest YouTube ripping site. UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, Arista Records, Atlantic Records and several others claim that YouTube-MP3 (YTMP3), owner Philip Matesanz, and Does 1-10 have infringed their rights. The labels allege that YouTube-MP3 is one of the most popular sites in the entire world and as a result its owner, German-based company PMD Technologies UG, is profiting handsomely from their intellectual property. YouTube-MP3 is being sued for direct, contributory, vicarious and inducement of copyright infringement, plus circumvention of technological measures. Among other things, the labels are also demanding a preliminary and permanent injunction forbidding the Defendants from further infringing their rights. They also want YouTube-MP3's domain name to be surrendered. "YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3's users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3's servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones," the complaint reads. "Defendants are depriving Plaintiffs and their recording artists of the fruits of their labor, Defendants are profiting from the operation of the YTMP3 website. Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, Defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for Defendants," the labels add.
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YouTube-MP3 Ripping Site Sued By IFPI, RIAA and BPI

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:04AM (#52968869)

    Why? I do this all the time. If you don't want people listening to your music, maybe you shouldn't put it on the internet?

    Just saying....

    • I agree - and YouTube is partly to blame too
    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:27AM (#52969015) Homepage Journal
      I have to imagine the quality of this music is pretty dismal?

      First..on YouTube, so you don't know the source and quality and then ripped to lossy mp3 format, and I'm guessing it isn't likely to be very high quality mp3.

      This is almost analogous to trying to record songs off FM radio onto cassettes...except without having to dodge the DJ talking over the music.

      Does no one put value into decent sounding music (just talking about the fidelity of the recording here, not getting into the quality of actual musicianship in the modern day).

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        I have to imagine the quality of this music is pretty dismal?

        "Dismal" is relative. The popularity of these sites suggests that the quality is "good enough" for the consuming audience.

      • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @10:36AM (#52969413)

        My headset costs 15EUR. The music boxes I have at home are around the same price range. I listen to music to have background noise. Do you seriously think I need to have the perfect quality of music?

        When I go to a live performance, I am more interested in the "sharing an experience with friends" part then I am listening to the music. In fact, some of the best evenings where when the music was absolutely horrible. (Lousy music AND lousy PA)

        So no, I do not put value into decent sounding music. To me music is like a hammer, a tool to either share time with friends or family (that is what I value); a way to have memories about these events by listening to the music and have my memory triggered or just as background.

        It could very well be that I value things you deem worthless and I will not judge you for that, so please do not look down on others who do not have the identical values as you have.

        • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @11:07AM (#52969579) Homepage Journal

          So no, I do not put value into decent sounding music. To me music is like a hammer, a tool to either share time with friends or family (that is what I value);

          Hmm...I think this new way of thinking about music is a loud statement on the quality of music content being put out today.

          Musicianship has gone out the door, and I think it is exemplified by music not seeming important to youth as yourself, no emotional or binding common anthem for your generation. I think popular music died sometime just at the start of the 90's for a plethora of reasons.

          Your post is kinda starting to confirm that for me.

          I find that sad.

          • by gtall ( 79522 )

            Musicianship is still alive in older metal and hard rock bands and progressive rock bands as well as jazz. However, there are not as many good young bands as there used to be, so yeah, musicianship is being downgraded...dunno if it will ever finally die.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        I have to imagine the quality of this music is pretty dismal?

        First..on YouTube, so you don't know the source and quality and then ripped to lossy mp3 format, and I'm guessing it isn't likely to be very high quality mp3.

        YouTube audio quality at the HD setting (720p/1080p) is 128kbps AAC, which is close to being considered "audibly transparent" (I believe for AAC the bitrate is a little higher for that - 192kbps?). At lower quality settings, the audio quality does go down.

        And a lot of it is ripped, so you do

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      You can download Youtube's audio with a direct link. Why don't they sue Youtube? Oh that's right, then all their content delivery would go down the drain and no one would care about them anymore.
  • by Alumoi ( 1321661 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:06AM (#52968877)

    Through the promise of illicit delivery of free music, Defendants have attracted millions of users to the YTMP3 website, which in turn generates advertising revenues for Defendants," the labels add.
    So it's not about copyright infringement, it's about getting money from ads.

  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:06AM (#52968881)
    There's a hundred sites dedicating to YouTube ripping, not to mention browser extensions and command-line tools.

    I can think of a few ways the media industry could prevent them, but suing one particular site will not do much in the end.
    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      What beats me in this is why the hell would you want to further convert the music to MP3 format? What player worth still using does not handle AAC directly?

      At which point "youtube-dl -f 140" is all you need.

      • Or, the cheap usb boombox....
        Not everyone plays music only on their PC

        • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

          Neither do I, but once you have the AAC on your computer in DRM free format from youtube you can copy it to whatever device you happen to be using.

      • What player worth still using does not handle AAC directly?

        What player worth still worth using does handle AAC directly? All I've tried recently don't.

        But there's no reason to use AAC anymore. It's barely better than MP3, and proprietary to boot. In blind listening tests, OPUS at 96kbps fares better than AAC at 160kbps or MP3 at 320kbps.

        If you're really paranoid, you can encode OPUS at 128kbps, for real-world equipment and regular ears 96kbps is more than enough.

    • RTFA: YTMP3 was storing the converted mp3 files on their website server and distributing copies. That constitutes copyright infringement. Storing mp3s was what got Napster shut down.
  • by VernonNemitz ( 581327 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:06AM (#52968885) Journal
    As soon as eidetic memory becomes popular, those same idiots will be suing everyone who simply listens and remembers a piece of new music.
  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:09AM (#52968903) Journal

    A few facts:

    1) The rent-seeking media licensing authorities aren't going to stop with their attempts to use their financial resources to defend their rents via litigation and buying politicians.
    2) Geeks aren't going to stop writing tools that facilitate freedom in using media as people see fit
    3) Ergo, the path of least resistance is to put such services that are ripe targets for litigation in countries where the licensing authorities do not have reach - ie. Eastern Europe, Asia, some parts of Africa.

    Why a company would host a service that would become a target for litigation in Germany is beyond me.

    Eventually, I can see a world where the services that the media rent-seekers hate are located in just the places they can't reach - we already see this in terms of torrent sites, and the rest will follow. Since they are very small potatoes in terms of the larger economy, I can't see anything like a war or even meaningful negotiation about the point. So, basically, I can't see any end result but the ultimate eclipse of the rent seekers.

    • The endgame I see is:

      1) The old-school content industry companies succeed at implementing draconian copyright laws, and place exorbitant prices on the content they control.
      2) Newer content industry companies place sane prices on their content.
      3) Old-school companies gradually go bankrupt as fewer and fewer people elect to pay their prices when much cheaper alternatives are available, and artists realize they can get pretty much the same distribution while keeping 70% of the revenue for themselves, inst
    • That term doesn't mean what you think it does, though you used it three times in one short post.

      Myspace alone offers 53 million songs by 14 million artists, with 13,000 songs uploaded each day. BMG has 312 artists signed to their label. Over 99.9% of musicians are not associated with a label.

      Yet there is some reason you want that 0.01% of music, not the 99.99% or so that's independent.

      If you feel that you really want to have the tiny, tiny fraction of music that's distributed by the major labels, that the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, the return of the Betamax case, should technology be banned because it can be used to infringe copyright? Supreme court said fuck no.

    https://w2.eff.org/legal/cases/betamax/

    "Jack Valenti: I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone. "

    VCRs went on to be by far the biggest income Hollywood ever got from movies. Jack Valenti nearly killed that at birth. It was nice rhetoric backed by lots of fake studies, sort of like

  • "YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3's users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3's servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones,"

    So, because something can be used to commit a crime, that is sufficient reason to assume that it is?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Guns can be used to commit a crime too. A lot of crime involves a gun. But we don't ban those, right?

      In civilised countries, yes.

      Your analogy doesn't work in any case--nobody ever got killed by a stray shot from an MP3.

      • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @10:05AM (#52969211) Homepage Journal

        I'm picturing an SAS man with an iPod, and the officer's shouting at him: "Idiot! I told you to bring an MP5!"

      • Wikipedia chart for gun laws by country [wikipedia.org] show that only North Korea has a full ban on guns.

        China and Vietnam are next with near total bans.
    • by wbo ( 1172247 )
      The problem is, downloading or ripping the audio track from videos is a violation of the Youtube Terms of Service [youtube.com] section 5B unless the video is one of the few that actually has a download link in the video description.

      Like it or not, sites like YTMP3 are violating the current Terms of Service for Youtube. However Google is really the ones going after them, not the record companies. And, so far Google has put little effort into actually enforcing their Terms of Service beyond forcing the removal of a
      • That's all fine and well, for dealing with companies that offer websites to facilitate downloading from YouTube.

        But how do you deal with download scripts? You can't. If I can download a YT video using my browser (because it's impossible to listen to the song without downloading it, after all), then I can do the exact same thing with a script like "youtube-dl".

        Of course, if they succeed in shutting down the download websites, that'll probably end most unauthorized copying, since most users appear to be too

    • Don't forget cars, you can kill someone with a car and/or use one to flee the scene of a crime.

      Oh, and arms and legs too, you can beat a person to death with no weapon other than your own body parts, gonna have to ban life....

    • So, because something can be used to commit a crime, that is sufficient reason to assume that it is?

      It's not sufficient reason by itself in most cases. But generally there is more to the story than just the existence of a tool.

      Guns can be used to commit a crime too. A lot of crime involves a gun. But we don't ban those, right?

      Umm, yeah actually a lot of places do. Not surprisingly those same places tend to have much lower rates of deaths and injuries from firearms and fewer crimes committed using one.

      There is an intentionality to most tools. For a firearm their designed purpose is to injure/kill. That IS what they were designed to do. Sometimes there are defensible reasons to use a gun for its inten

      • This kind of slippery slope thinking is EXACTLY why the right to bear arms is an enshrined right and not subject to your classifications of use.
  • by Drathos ( 1092 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:19AM (#52968963)

    "... half of 16 to 24-year-olds use stream-ripping tools to copy music from sites like YouTube."

    *cough* BULLSHIT! *cough*

  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:20AM (#52968973)
    Even if they managed to shut down every last YT->MP3 service, it's still a simple matter to just record the audio using freeware like Audacity and save MP3s from it. .
  • Just use Youtube-dl (Score:2, Informative)

    by urbster1 ( 871298 )
    It's trivial: youtube-dl -x --audio-format mp3 https://youtube.com/watch?v=vi... [youtube.com]
  • If you ACTUALLY do this, you are doing yourself a disservice. If it isn't posted by the original artist, it is almost always a distorted song. The pitch is changed, the tempo, frequencies torn right out of the middle. Then when you hear it on the radio and streaming, the song seems "off" and is ruined forever
  • Please explain... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wardrich86 ( 4092007 )
    What's the difference between me playing the same song 50000 times on YouTube, or me ripping the song and listening to that same MP3 50000 times?
    • Other than the amount of money in Data that I'm saving by not watching a song.
      • Other than the amount of money in Data that I'm saving by not watching a song.

        The amount of money they're missing by not forcing all the ads on you.

    • Well it... because you... you see, it's...

      Just shut up, that's what!

      • Well it... because you... you see, it's...

        Just shut up, that's what!

        .....the sudden realization that music videos are mostly crap...

        Most people launch music videos then start surfing other pages. What YouTube should have is an audio only option. At least then the data usage would be a lot less.

    • I'll play into that daft question...The hits aren't recorded, so the artist misses out on popularity rankings & ad revenue.

      If you're using ad-blocking software to avoid YT's ads, then the hits are still recorded, but you're undermining the entire business model that's allowing you to consume the content in the first place. An analogy about eating cake comes to mind...

      • Shit... I didn't even think of ads/hits. I've got ads blocked 90% of the time. So what the site should have done was had a variable that tracked how many times a URL was hit. Then whatever shit company could just go to the URL and see how many times the MP3 was ripped, multiply that by however much they figure they lost in damages (divided by the number of unique links) and paid out their artists accordingly.

        PROBLEM SOLVED. /s
        • Problem not solved - you expect the money to pay those artists is just conjured out of thin air? Those artists get their pay out of the revenue generated by advertisers paying the platform to spread their brand. As a consumer, you're given a choice as to how to pay for your content - purchase it, subscribe to it, or have a third party pay for it in exchange for you seeing their ads.

          Circumventing the site to get the content without paying is akin to shoplifting. The argument that stealing virtual media is di

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Was there an ad before you played it 50,000 times on YouTube?

    • You're STEALING $0.01 worth of advertising revenue of which $0.0001 goes to the artists! Won't you think of the dying artists!

      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        You may be right, but you have to think about bigger numbers. Let's say 100K people listen to your song. That may only be 10$ for the artist but that's 1000$ for the advertisers!

        Won't somebody think of the advertisers!

  • >> half of 16 to 24-year-olds use stream-ripping tools to copy music from sites like YouTube

    I thought this was how most people 50 and under got their music these days: open up about 8-12 browser windows with content I like, flip on the stream ripper, let the computer run overnight, and wake up in the morning to a collection of a few hundred mp3s to pick through. Happy to hear that the young-un's have figured this out too though!
  • by 2fuf ( 993808 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:36AM (#52969069)

    Just create a $0.10 per pop Download button in Youtube and look how fast you'll be cashing in.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      400 Dogecoins for a song? That seems a bit high.

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      I thought that's what they tried with Youtube Red? Trying to get me to do a monthly subscription so I can watch youtube videos and shut the screen down on my phone without it pausing the audio.
  • ... when you can rip full video?
  • rip it good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:47AM (#52969121)
    I rip activist videos because so many of them disappear.
  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @10:07AM (#52969223)

    Sure, it may not be legal in some places. But if half the people are doing it, and less than 1% of people care that it's happening, maybe it's time to modernize the law and bring it in to line with societal norms...

    Legality and morality are not the same thing, and when such a large percentage of people think something is right, and comparatively few feel that it's wrong, maybe the law is on the wrong side of the evolution of modern society.

    • Only happen if we the people can raise enough money to buy back the politicians making the laws....

  • Just use an addon. (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Allsup ( 987 ) <(moostyle.martia ... (at) (allsup.co)> on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @10:26AM (#52969339) Homepage Journal

    Given that you can youtube-dl to get an mkv of mp4 file, then ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vn -c:a copy out.m4a, or similar, which ytmp3 just does behind the scenes and caches its output, this strikes me as yet another publicity stunt to get more and more pro-ip anti-tech laws. These guys think that nothing in the universe is as important than their financial income. Such greed is a cancer in society.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      I prefer to use -f 140 to just grab the best AAC version of the track directly or you could just do -x. There is no need to demux the audio after the download.

  • So, let me get this straight:

    Youtube is a company that makes large amounts of money off of people uploading pirated content. It then puts up a cumbersome problem plagued automatic system to "address" copyrighted content problems, but in reality has such a big legal budget that most organizations wouldn't want to go up against it in court.

    And now, the MPAA etc are up; in arms over sites that help users "pirate" this pirated content.

    I know there is no shame, but that's a pretty big elephant standing in this c

  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @10:45AM (#52969459)
    How many lives does the music industry have anyway? Can't it just stay dead? It must have been killed by enough new technologies by now, with cassettes, CD-ROMs, MP3 players, USB thumb drives, and now Youtube rips laying into it.
    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      How many lives does the music industry have anyway? Can't it just stay dead? It must have been killed by enough new technologies by now, with cassettes, CD-ROMs, MP3 players, USB thumb drives, and now Youtube rips laying into it.

      Don't forget the player piano [viewfromll2.com]

  • I dont see the use for having a website-based ripping tool for youtube videos.
    I have been using jDownloader for the better part of a decade, if I recall correctly, and am very happy with it.
    Not only does it let me rip mp3s from youtube directly to my PC without going through another sever (with ads) first, I can pick dozens of file formats for audio and video as well as resolutions (if available) for youtube alone. And it supports hundreds of different sites out of the box, many more if you pass the adress

  • I was dreading the day that the record companies would learn that they'd been voluntarily uploading their music to a new Napster for years.

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