And legal council.
We covered the overt threat from Google towards Youtube ripping site Youtube-MP3.com last month, where it was made clear that should it not shut down voluntarily, Google would be forced to bring to bear its staggeringly well funded legal team. Instead of bowing to this potential tidal wave of paperwork, Youtube-MP3 has enlisted the help of several lawyers of its own, as well as appealing to its users for support. In traditional internet citizen fashion, they didn’t disappoint, with over 240,000 signatures gathered up by this petition. It asks Google to not only allow YoutubeMP3 to continue operation, but to allow all forms of conversion tools.
Of course even if all YoutubeMP3’s 1.3 million monthly users signed the petition, it may not lead to Google curtailing its plans for legal action. However the site may be able to survive on its legal merits alone. Advised by legal professionals from two prominent German law firms, the owner of the site, Philip Matesanz told TorrentFreak, he believes that since his site doesn’t make use of Youtube’s API, that he isn’t breaking it and therefore the shutdown request based on that idea has no legs to stand on.
If this turns out to be true – from a Google admission or in a court room – if would spell doom for the search giant’s other supposed attacks on conversion websites.
However, if seems unlikely that if halted in its advances, Google may circle back and try again, since this latest attack isn’t the first attempt it has made to hinder conversion sites. YoutubeMP3 had its adsense account banned in 2010. When Mr Matesanz attempted to retrieve the several months earnings that he had accrued at the time, he was ignored, even when Google was sent a letter by his attorney.
Kitguru Says: The best bet for Google at this point would be to save face by admitting that while Youtube exists, so will conversion sites. Perhaps instead of attacking them, it should launch its own competitor. While Google + is hardly the talk it once was, its chugging along nicely. Why not add a conversion tool and make it a bit more music focused; steal some of MySpace’s hard won users.
As it stands, YoutubeMP3 is still up, but inoperable. If you want to see sites like this stay alive, sign the petition, or let Google know how you feel.