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Google Bars Site That Converts YouTube Songs Into MP3s 177

Posted by timothy
from the see-previous-article-about-streaming dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google is apparently cracking down on a popular site that converts the music from YouTube videos into MP3s. YouTube-MP3.org has received a letter from Google, YouTube's parent company, notifying the site operators that converting videos this way violates YouTube's terms of service, according to the blog TorrentFreak, which said it has seen the letter. In addition, YouTube apparently has blocked YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing the site."
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Google Bars Site That Converts YouTube Songs Into MP3s

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:58AM (#40370991)

    It is trivial to extract the audio from a youtube video and convert it to an mp3. There are tools on Windows, Linux, and OSX that can do that without a lot of effort. So, shutting down this site is, IMO, an exercise in futility.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:02PM (#40371053)
      This seems to be an easier tool for the non-technical to use, and therefore would open it up to a wider audience. Costing record companies billions of dollars and funding terrorism, of course.
      • by azalin (67640)
        I would presume that Google wants to prevent the RIAA throwing another fit. They do this by going for an obvious leecher that probably started to cost them money bandwidth wise, infringes their trademark and would become bothersome if it became too popular.
        I'm pretty sure they know that is impossible to stop the not completely tech challenged user from doing this himself, but those are a) a minority b) are mostly indistinguishable from normal users so theyy probably don't care.
      • by mrops (927562)

        and what about the children... ohhh think of the children.

    • by Instine (963303) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:05PM (#40371107)
      its an exercise in ass covering.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:06PM (#40371127) Journal

      It is trivial to extract the audio from a youtube video and convert it to an mp3. There are tools on Windows, Linux, and OSX that can do that without a lot of effort. So, shutting down this site is, IMO, an exercise in futility.

      I suspect that you are underestimating the degree of laziness, technical ignorance, and futzing-with-youtube-on-computers-they-can't-install-stuff-on-because-they-are-at-work/school, at play here.

      Obviously, Google knows that you can do whatever you damn well want with the video once you've downloaded it(and, while they receive no further ad revenue, it also doesn't cost them anything further, and they have no way of going after you, so they aren't going to bother).

      I suspect, though, that Google takes a dim view of tools, usable even by morons, that eat their bandwidth, throw away any ads they serve, and quite possibly upset the RIAA and friends without any benefit to Google.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bazorg (911295)

        That last part of your comment might be the key. If Google were to neglect this kind of infringement, the music and film industries associations could find grounds to claim that Google is damaging their businesses.

        • by dunezone (899268)

          If Google were to neglect this kind of infringement, the music and film industries associations could find grounds to claim that Google is damaging their businesses.

          Or they could use it as grounds to pull their music videos and Google loses out on the 15-30 seconds of a commercial they show before them.

      • by a whoabot (706122)

        "you can do whatever you damn well want with the video once you've downloaded it"

        To supplement your point: When you say something like this to most people, they respond: "But I don't download YouTube videos -- I just watch them on the website!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Linux:
      $ cd /tmp
      $ ffmpeg -i FlashFoO bar.mp3
      Done...
      • If you're already on Linux and using ffmpeg, why not encode it as .ogg? Unless you have to accomodate a poor portable media player, but even most of those support it now.

        • by TeknoHog (164938)

          If you're already on Linux and using ffmpeg, why not encode it as .ogg?

          Because it is already an mp3 stream, and re-encoding into another lossy format would make the quality even worse.

        • by JBMcB (73720)

          Why even re-encode it? Usually it's straight MP4, or an MP4 wrapped in an FLV container. Suck out the aac, put it back in an audio-only MP4 - nearly anything can play it.

        • You must be young. Too many of us ripped our cd's to ogg, only to find that no sub-$100 mp3 player seems to play them. Then you have the fun of re-ripping your multitudes of cds, or transcoding them all to mp3, losing even more quality.
          • If you've already bought a smartphone and it isn't made by Apple or Nokia, then you have an Android-powered PMP supporting .ogg files. If you haven't already bought a smartphone, you can buy an $80 PCD Venture phone from Virgin Mobile and never buy minutes for it.
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            You must be young. Too many of us ripped our cd's to ogg, only to find that no sub-$100 mp3 player seems to play them. Then you have the fun of re-ripping your multitudes of cds, or transcoding them all to mp3, losing even more quality.

            "Only to find"?

            Are you saying that you ripped all your files to OGG expecting to be able to do that *before* you checked?

            I've nothing against the Ogg audio format- I think it's a good idea, and probably technically better than MP3. However, I ripped all my music files to MP3 because I knew that- though it was far from the best codec around- it was as near universally supported as makes no difference.

            Ogg has *never* been as widely supported as MP3, and primarily used by tech-savvy users who ought to kn

      • Linux:
        $ cd /tmp
        $ ffmpeg -i FlashFoO bar.mp3
        Done...

        If I recall correctly, newer versions of Flash player no longer put stuff in /tmp and you have to dig through /proc instead. But I agree with one of your responses above that you should probably just make it output AAC since that's usually the format it's in (it goes way faster that way, too).

        • by Carnivore (103106)

          No, it's still in /tmp, but it's immediately unlinked so the file still exists while the flash instance is running. Here's a command line I found to do the /proc digging and relink the files in /tmp for you. (obviously you must run this before closing the flash player that is holding the file in existence):

          for h in `find /proc/*/fd -ilname "/tmp/Flash*" 2>/dev/null`; do ln -s "$h" `readlink "$h" | cut -d' ' -f1`; done

          Source: http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/7991/recover-tmp-flash-videos-deleted [commandlinefu.com]

          • The nice thing about that site was google song copy link download done in around 10 seconds or so.
            Sure you can do it for yourself but it is slower a lot slower. On the negative side sometimes its a poor version of the song you wanted plus the sound quality is never that good. Doing it yourself it is just as crappy but it takes longer.

            The other good thing was for your typical house party there is always someone with a desire for some song you don't have and wouldn't want in your collection you could just

      • A year or so ago, I was able to see all of the downloaded flash videos in /tmp, and it was so convenient! Then flashplayer was updated and I can't find them anymore. Do you know how to get them into /tmp again? I'm running Firefox 13 and Debian Squeeze (if that info is useful).
    • by VMaN (164134)

      They are simply stopping a leecher, they don't care about people doing it for themselves.

      • by micheas (231635)
        They have had a google chrome extension for a long time (a couple years?) that has been hosted by google, So, I think this is due to some recent event of some sort with regards to Google.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:08PM (#40371183)

      It is trivial to extract the audio from a youtube video and convert it to an mp3. There are tools on Windows, Linux, and OSX that can do that without a lot of effort. So, shutting down this site is, IMO, an exercise in futility.

      True. It's also pretty damn easy to recover the .avi, .mp4, or .flv video and process it client-side. Whether it infringes copyright or not, what you do with ffmpeg on files that reside client-side, etc., is your problem, not Google's.

      Where this website crossed the line is in trying to monetize it by being a wrapper around YouTube.

      Full disclosure: My position on the issue can be summarized as "fuck streaming [slashdot.org]." Streaming media is the memory hole [wikipedia.org] of 1984. For free/fan-based content that doesn't infringe (e.g. fair use), it's nice to know that you can keep your favorite content, even after your friends deactivate their accounts, or if a lawyer claiming ownership of a 2-second sample in a 3-minute video disagrees with you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SydShamino (547793)

      I've only ever bothered to do so with one song: a song that I like from my Pandora station that isn't available for sale anywhere physical or digital (a remix from an old import CD). I found it on a different, legal on-demand streaming music service and captured the audio.

      For anything else, though, $1 is worth far less than the ten minutes it takes to do this process, so I just buy the song.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Not even eBay, or purchasing the import CD used some other way?

        • Man I tried. Could not find it in a year of looking. I was contemplating trying to capture Pandora for hours at a time so I could grab the song when it happened to play, then I found it on one of the newer sites where you can request specific songs.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      It is trivial to extract the audio from a youtube video and convert it to an mp3. There are tools on Windows, Linux, and OSX that can do that without a lot of effort. So, shutting down this site is, IMO, an exercise in futility.

      It's only futile if Google's goal is to prevent people from transcoding audio from a video into an MP3 (afterall, so far, there's no DRM that can keep someone from plugging the analog audio-out cable from their computer into their sound card though I'm sure some day RIAA and MPAA will make sure we have analog fingerprints on all of our outputs that would close this analog hole). However, if Google's goal is to appease the RIAA and make it appear as though they are helping to protected RIAA's rights, then p

      • afterall, so far, there's no DRM that can keep someone from plugging the analog audio-out cable from their computer into their sound card though I'm sure some day RIAA and MPAA will make sure we have analog fingerprints on all of our outputs that would close this analog hole

        One way to work around the analog hole is by making a work interactive because a walkthrough video is no substitute for playing it yourself. That might be part of why MPAA members such as Disney and WB have started subsidiaries that develop video games.

    • THat its trivial to do is irrelevant. They are fully within their rights to block this usage, since..
      A) its basically a ticking legal timebomb
      B) it gets them 0 revenue (the automated servers skip the ads
      C) it costs them money (the servers are downloading the videos)

  • There are more than another dozen viable options to download Youtube videos
  • Browser Extensions (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:03PM (#40371067)

    What about sites that host browser extensions/add-ons/plug-ins? Opera, Chrome and Firefox all have extensions that will do this right from the YouTube page with a single click.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most of those actually use an interim server like the one in the article to make the conversion, so could be blocked. Even those that don't frequently have problems. Youtube keeps adjusting the way it streams the media files to try and optimize overall bandwidth use and performance, and every time they make a change it breaks the plugins for a few days. That said, I don't think they can outright block them without blocking the media itself; a browser that allowed websites to query every plugin installed wou

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:34PM (#40371651)

        Most of those actually use an interim server like the one in the article to make the conversion, so could be blocked. Even those that don't frequently have problems. Youtube keeps adjusting the way it streams the media files to try and optimize overall bandwidth use and performance, and every time they make a change it breaks the plugins for a few days. That said, I don't think they can outright block them without blocking the media itself; a browser that allowed websites to query every plugin installed would be a serious security threat.

        Actually, it's really easy to do it yourself, and it works extremely well in Firefox. It'll work with most sites and is unblockable basically. The sites it won't work with are sites that do exclusive streaming (no caching and play/pause/rewind/etc requires are handled by the server which changes its bitstream) and sites that break the video into tiny segments and the player dynamically changes the quality.

        What you need is a firefox extension called "Live HTTP Headers" that lets you see HTTP headers as they scroll by, and something like Flashblock or NoScript that prevents running of flash (HTML5 video isn't that prevalent yet and only big ones like YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion support it while everyone else still uses flash).

        The method is to load the page up, then open the Live HTTP Header window. Click the flash player and let it load and start the video. One of the things Live HTTP Headers will have captured is... the URL for the media (look for MIME type video/flv or video/mp4). Copy that URL and paste it in a browser tab (which also gives you cookies). If you don't have a handler, it'll ask to download. If you do, block the site temporarily and use NoScript to right-click and download it.

        This method works because it relies on the fact that most video sites retrieve video via HTTP or HTTPS (could be a Flash limitation) rather than streaming the video (which requires server work) and using HTTP/HTTPS makes it more CDN-friendly since it's a static file.

        • by makomk (752139)

          I'm pretty sure that some of the video downloader plugins for Firefox already work this way.

    • Chrome Web Store forbids extensions that download YouTube videos. The one I use [spoi.com] has a special Web Store version that cuts out that feature but the site where you can get the "Full" edition of the extension is listed IIRC.

      That tool just figures out the url of the media files backing the YouTube video though, you still have to do all the conversion work yourself if you want it in a different format or just want the audio from it.

      Of course I only use it to save perfectly legal bits of sound bites and so forth

    • by antdude (79039)

      And also programs like Orbit Downloader, clive, cclive, etc. :)

  • Boy, that sucks. If only there were developers working on cure this ill. Perhaps users of this very site [slashdot.org]. Maybe they could solve the problem with a firefox extension [mozilla.org]?

    Too bad. Because I would have totally loved that to be a real thing.

    Protip: It is, and I'm being cagey.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:12PM (#40371261)

    Cloud:
    - Keepvid: http://keepvid.com/
    - Vixy: http://vixy.net/
    - Saveyoutube: http://saveyoutube.com/
    - Savevid: http://www.savevid.com/
    - More: www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=youtube+video+download

    Firefox addons:
    - Download Flash and Video: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/download-flash-and-video/?src=search
    - YouTube Download: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/youtube-download/?src=search
    - 1-Click YouTube Video Download: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1-click-youtube-video-download/?src=search
    - Download YouTube Videos as MP4 and FLV: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/download-youtube/?src=search
    - More: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search/?q=firefox+download&appver=&platform=

    Chrome extentions:
    - YouTube Downloader: MP3 / HD Video: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hokfcbmfpgeajcgkaeigohghnkhjmcbj
    - FVD Video Downloader: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lfmhcpmkbdkbgbmkjoiopeeegenkdikp

    Manually:
    - HOWTO: Download FLV videos from YouTube manually: http://inspirated.com/2007/08/24/howto-download-flv-videos-from-youtube-manually

    Dear Google,

    give up. LOL, noobs...

    Regards,
    NotASingleF**k.

    • You really think that is what this is about? It's about getting them of the hook from a legal liability standpoint. Obviously they cannot control the client but they can control requests made through another web site....

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:14PM (#40371307)

    I don't see why this article is of interest.

    A site does something which goes against youtube's TOS - Google changes something in Youtube to block it - and sends a letter to the owner of the website. So?

    If you Google it - you still get search results, and Google didn't do any tricks which we find immoral.

    Why is this an article? What were we expecting? How could Google have dealth with it better?

  • by dubbayu_d_40 (622643) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:14PM (#40371313)

    I used to use Audacity for this, and it worked well. However, the audio quality on YouTube is noticeably awful.

    I don't think they need to block these sites. The poor quality is what finally pushed me to start purchasing songs.

  • apt-get install youtube-dl (deb, ubuntu) pacman -S youtube-dl (arch)
    • pacman -S youtube-dl (arch)

      How long until Namco Bandai cease-and-desists the maintainer of this method?

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:32PM (#40371625)

    A Google service for bars called "Google Bars" that converts youtube songs into MP3.

  • The mods over at youtube-mp3.org have already fixed the problem, probably swapped ip's or something.

    the site is back up working 100%...

    youtube/google has failed and original post is no longer relevant.

  • This could easily be replaced with a browser plugin. Then there's no one to C&D because the author of such a plugin need never agree to Googles TOS. Google would have to C&D their users directly.

  • Redirecting YouTube-MP3.org to the song "Never Gonna Give You Up" would have been more appropriate.
    • by fritsd (924429)
      Ooh nice one!
      Or even Zwaluw ach Zwaluw [youtube.com] by Max & Betsie Anders.
      WARNING: NSFPWFE (Not suitable for people with functioning ears).
      But that would probably violate their corporate motto "do no evil".
  • There are still a number of sites out there that don't make mention of YouTube in their domain name that allow you to keep YouTube vids as MP4, MP3, etc. . So I doubt they'll catch them anytime soon.
  • Not only did it recode the audio data, losing some quality, but it was also closed-source software-as-a-service. Good riddance.
  • Youtube is accusing me of plagiarizing, because i put a PUBLIC DOMAIN audio track of "The Star Spangled Banner" in the video. Their automatic software however has decided this is false positive enough with someone else's recording of OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM (!?) to block my video. I disputed the claim, linked to the public domain audio source, and now I have until July 18 to twiddle my thumbs while Youtube placates the copyright trolls.

    Our intellectual property system is an absurdity that hinders creativity, I want to live in a just and sane society. Our intellectual property system is incompatible with being fixed, and any move to a more sane status quo requires that it be made abundantly clear to everyone that laws put on the books in the days of cassette tapes do not work in a world of TCP/IP.

    I support anything and everything that directly undermines the enforcement of intellectual property laws. Civil Disobedience is what is needed, civil disobedience here in this context is any and all actions that are sane and reasonable consumer actions of YOUR CULTURE but obviously not in line with intellectual property letter of the law. Supporting artists does not mean supporting the parasitical corporations and laws that merely operate on a rent seeking basis, and add no value to our culture or our creativity.

  • Okay, look, we all know how easy this stuff is to get around. That is the whole point. Google wants to educate the public on how to use computers for getting copies of music better.

    First off, Google knows you can easily get a better copy of the song by using google. But people are lazy and don't to go thru instructions on how to do anything, they just want to pop an address in and out comes whatever they want. Google isn't happy about this. See, google makes a search engine, and if you always us

  • So I just tried it out, it seems to work just fine..huh.

  • It DOES violate the YouTube TOS. What did they expect was going to happen?
  • Now that they are both provider and in effect produce, the shoe is on the other foot

    What ever happened to fair use? Oh, that is right the AA's have about stamped that out.

  • this should keep the MAFIAA quiet for a while.

    it's an ineffective token move, no doubt designed to placate an ineffective and token business model and keep them off their back for a bit.

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