Stream-Ripping Sites And YouTube Now Engaged In Whac-A-Mole

from the inevitable dept

As we’ve been talking about for a bit now, there is a new favorite target of the music industry when it comes to anti-piracy efforts: stream-ripping websites. It’s important to continue to point out that, despite the plain fact that these sites are quite often used to generate audio-rips of copyrighted music video material, that is most certainly not their only use. Other uses for these sites are non-infringing. But this is the music industry we’re talking about, with it’s storied history of carpet-bombing technology tools rather than precision bombing actual infringement.

Meanwhile, YouTube more recently decided to conspire with the music industry against these sites by blocking several prominent stream-ripping sites without word or warning. From that original post we wrote:

All of this is made even more strange in that Google didn’t give any heads up about this new policy, isn’t talking about it now, and has to know that it isn’t going to work long-term.

That last bit was an easy prediction to make. I’ve seen the site-blocking movie before and I know how it ends. In ends in the game of whac-a-mole that almost immediately kicked off in the aftermath of the site-blocks.

And indeed, little over a week after the blocking efforts started, many of the targeted sites are able to rip MP3s from YouTube again. almost instantly announced that it was working on a fix and today the site is working just fine. The same is true for, which was also blocked last week, as well as the massively popular, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet.

There is some more in TorrentFreak’s post, much of which seems to indicate that either YouTube didn’t spend a great deal of time thinking about how it was going to win this inevitable battle or that YouTube wanted to take the most minimal actions it could to tell the music industry it was trying while knowing how this all was eventually going to go. If the latter, it’s fairly cynical. If the former…well, it’s probably not the former.

The block itself appeared to be a simple IP-range block, easily routed around by the site operators.

“To fix the problem, we simply used other servers that are not in the range of IP-addresses blocked by YouTube,” the operator of the stream-ripping site informed us.

If YouTube is indeed serious about its efforts to take out ‘voliative’ stream-ripping sites, it will likely block the new IP-addresses as well, eventually. This will then trigger a proverbial cat and mouse game, one we know all too well from other pirate site blocking efforts. informs us that they indeed took countermeasures, like the other sites that work again.

“I think the YouTube update is stupid because we will always find a solution,” the operator says.

Stupid, perhaps, but not in the way that last quote suggests, I don’t think. Instead, it would be better for YouTube, which obviously isn’t taking this too seriously, to refuse the music industry’s requests to inhibit technology tools that aren’t in themselves infringing. YouTube can enforce its own ToS or not, but it shouldn’t bother even pretending to want to do battle with site operators on behalf of the music industry.

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Comments on “Stream-Ripping Sites And YouTube Now Engaged In Whac-A-Mole”

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Direct, Contributory, and Vicarious says:

No, it's NOT "on behalf of the music industry", but CONSUMERS.

Content doesn’t get made if not profitable. No one gets content, then. Period.

First, re-hash the basics: The Copyright Clause is NOT, as so often alleged here, a "grant" by Congress, nor is it optional: the entire Constitution is a statement by those who wrote it, "We The People", outlining what OUR servants government are to do and what NOT. Congress IS to enforce an "exclusive right" of creators to control copies of their work. It’s been adjusted to deal with the increase of value with more gadgets, and now must be adjusted to deal with thieves being able to STEAL more easily.

Youtube is a corporation, a business, that has agreed to serve The Public in order to even exist. It TOO is to protect what creators produce. — If doesn’t then needs broken up, its executives jailed, and let others who will enter the market.

IF Youtube were to let this go, it’s potentially Contributory Infringement.

And you are as usual LATE! Here’s a more current headline from TF:

Popular Stream-Ripper Voluntarily Disables YouTube Conversion

", the most-visited stream-ripper site on the Internet," has wisely decided to get out NOW with enough money and before JAILED.

Direct, Contributory, and Vicarious says:

Re: No, it's NOT "on behalf of the music industry", bu

The one part where we agree is that Youtube is probably LYING and "cynical" in its efforts. Attitude doesn’t matter in American law, only actions, and it’s in the clear so long as serves Public and creators in way it agreed to as condition of existence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No, it's NOT "on behalf of the music industry&a

If content doesn’t get made if not profitable, where do all your lies come from?

Also: where did much of the early internet come from (you know before there really were CDN’s and AD networks… those things wouldn’t have poped up if there was nothing to exploit…)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, it's NOT "on behalf of the music industry", but CONSUMER

Content doesn’t get made if not profitable. No one gets content, then. Period.

You do not use the Internet much do you, because most of the content on the Internet is NOT made with the intent of making a profit.

Also, those who want, have the passion, and expend the effort can build a fan base that will support their creative efforts. What may become difficult is making a profit by controlling other peoples creation, and restricting what is published so that the controlling middle men can make themselves wealthy. The labels, studios and publishers could vanish tomorrow, and the only impact would be people putting a little more effort into finding content that they like.

Gary (profile) says:


Stream Ripping is completely fair use. Of course since record companies don’t recognize fair use, they’ll sue anyway.
If You Tube wants to play wack-a-mole that is their option. It’s shitty but it’s their choice.

We The People don’t want to stand by while enforce their censorship regimes via copyright. Stream Ripping enables people to re-mix, create and expand culture.

Sharing makes more of something – it isn’t theft. Theft is when something is taken away. DRM, Copyright take works away from people and give them to Corporations.

Peter (profile) says:

Fair use? As far as record companies go - agreed. Youtube - no

Stream ripping should only concern Youtube (the company) and the ripping web sites. If Youtube says it is ok, it is, and if Youtube says it is not, than it isn’t.

If record companies don’t agree, they can disallow ripping in their licence agreements with Youtube, and force Youtube to stop it. If record companies take ripping web sites to court directly, the cases should be thrown out. (Kellogs can’t sue you for stealing Corn flakes from Walmart. Only Walmart can.)

Youtube seems to tap dance around the issue, though: DNS-Blocking – whack a-mole looks like the least effective way to stop ripping. If Google really wanted to stop ripping web sites, they’d have more effective technical and legal options available. Which, for some reason, they have chosen not to use (yet).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Fair use? As far as record companies go - agreed. Youtube -

If record companies don’t agree, they can disallow ripping in their licence agreements with Youtube, and force Youtube to stop it.

Isn’t that like telling radio stations that they need to find a way to prevent people from recording music from their OTA broadcast?

Anonymous Coward says:

Most of the videos i watch are podcasts ,gaming videos ,i see no harm
in ripping mp3s from them .
The new eu laws are not even in force yet,
then any ip holder can sue youtube if theres any music that is not licensed ,
companys are issuing dmca notices on gaming videos that have 3 seconds of background music in them.
Maybe youtube is simply trying to show music companys that are not in favour of stream ripping sites .

Rekrul says:

I have an old system with an old version of Windows that only runs older browsers. Since YouTube keeps updating their site to use newer methods of playing the videos, they no longer work in any of my browsers. The only way I can view any of the videos is by downloading them. To that end, I have a bookmarklet that takes me right to the download page of a ripping site. It works about 98% of the time.

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