WEB SERVICES FIRM Google has threatened a large Youtube to MP3 conversion web site, Youtube-MP3.org with legal action, and has blocked its servers from accessing Youtube.
According to Bittorrent web site Torrentfreak that saw a letter addressing the issue, Google's lawyers threatened the web site because of its MP3 extraction procedures that convert Youtube videos into downloadable audio files.
Google warned Youtube-MP3.org in the letter dated 8 June that it must stop its services immediately and comply with its demands within seven days.
In the letter sent to Youtube-MP3's owner 'Philip', Youtube associate product counsel Harris Cohen said that Youtube's terms of service (ToS) prohibit any service that allows Youtube content to be download instead of streamed.
Cohen also highlghted that to "separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API" is also forbidden.
Cohoen goes on to warn that a continuation of this service might well result in "legal consequences" for Youtube-mp3.
It's surprising the web site managed to stay under Google's the radar this long, because according to Google's own statistics it pulls in 1.3 million visitors every day.
According to Torrentfreak's report, Philip said that he sent a long-winded response to Cohen explaining how the web site serves millions of users a day and asked for a phone conference with Youtube to discuss the matter further.
Youtube didn't play nicely, and failed to respond. Instead, it simply blocked all of Youtube-MP3's servers from accessing Youtube, meaning that it now has no service to offer.
"We would estimate that there are roughly 200 million people across the world that make use of services like ours and Google doesn't just ignore all those people, they are about to criminalize them," Philip said in a statement on Youtube-MP3.org.
"With the way they are interpreting and creating their ToS every one of those 200 million users is threatened to be sued by Google."
Google failed to respond to requests to comment on the story, but according to the Torrentfreak article, it might be targeting other similar services as a result of its discovery of Youtube-MP3.org. µ