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Until the day comes when those who use & enjoy online audio can do so without Big Business harassment, they will have to keep fighting battles like this.

This evening's Exhibit A: Google Inc. is currently hounding the popular YouTube To MP3 Converter, an especially user-friendly online tool letting users make MP3 files for personal use from the audio tracks from YouTube videos.

The site already had built-in mechanisms that screened out files that had DRM or related issues from being downloaded, nor does it even use the "YouTube API" software that Google claims is at issue — but never mind that, apparently the mere existence of such independent tools to enhance users' YouTube experience offends Google enough that they've sent in the legal trolls & blocked the software's access to YouTube videos.

More commentary & links below the Kos Divider...

Whether the issue at hand hinges mostly on...

1. Google playing CYA in its continuing fights with the RIAA, which is itself copyright-trolling the software that makes this & similar tools possible,

2. Google cynically trying to destroy competition for a recent Google Chrome app which does something similar (though, of course, requiring you to sell your soul to Google's info-harvesting hyenas before you can use it),

3. this being the price that Philip Matesanz, YTMP3's creator, pays for running his site from Germany, which happens to have some of the most regressive IP laws in Europe, or

4. Google, much like the Legacy Media giants themselves, not realizing that people creating online tools like this both reflects & indeed stimulates interest in YouTube videos — & hence hits & revenue for YouTube itself,

...Google has, at any rate, gotten some backlash from YTMP3's users, over 1,600,000 of whom (by now) have signed a petition calling on Google to come to the negotiating table (& also calling on a European Commission representative to uphold the right to privately use media).

Relevant articles here (June), here (July), & here (in German, late July).


Originally posted to Brown Thrasher on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by An Ear for Music, Protest Music, and DKOMA.


Who is in the right?

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