YouTube Begins Blocking Stream-Ripping Sites

from the carpet-bomb dept

As we've discussed previously, the past several years have seen the major music industry players paint an entirely new anti-piracy target on the backs of stream-ripping sites. These sites, which allow users to plug in the address for a YouTube video and get an audio rip outputted, are quite often used to generate audio files of copyrighted materials. This, however, is most certainly not their only use. In fact, there are many legitimate uses for these sites. I, myself, often use them to convert publicly available lectures and educational material put out by everything from universities to technology manufacturers so that I can listen to them while on the go. In this way, the music industry is once again taking a tool that can be but is not always used for copyright infringement and attempting to carpet bomb them all to hell.

And now they appear to have found an ally in YouTube, which recently and rather silently began blocking access to the sites from known stream-ripping websites.

Several operators of YouTube-to-MP3 rippers have confirmed that the streaming service is actively blocking requests from their sites.

“All my servers are blocked with error ‘HTTP Error 429: Too Many Requests’,” the operator of Dlnowsoft.com informs TorrentFreak. As a result, the stream-ripping site currently displays a “service temporarily unavailable, we will come back soon” error message.

The site in question is not alone. Mp3-youtube.download, another stream-ripper, is facing a similar issue. According to its operator, something changed yesterday evening and users now see a ‘this URL does not exist’ error message when they try to convert a YouTube clip. The massively popular Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet, appears to be affected as well.

On the one hand, this isn't the most surprising development in human history. Like any service provider, there is a certain amount of instinct in wanting to retain control over one's product. Stream-ripping sites route around the control YouTube would otherwise have.

That being said, it's an odd move for a company that used to tout a mantra of "Don't be evil." After all, it wouldn't take a lot of work or thought to argue convincingly that removing the ability for people to hear educational materials on the go, such as I do, is some level of bad, if not evil. On top of that, how about any artist or content creator who might actually enjoy the fact that their material can be made audibly available in this manner? Certainly the number of people that fit such a category is not zero. Google's new policy surely is harming them, is it not?

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.

None of the site operators we heard from was warned by YouTube in advance. We also reached out to the video streaming service for a comment and further details, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

While YouTube’s efforts, intentional or not, are effective, they will likely trigger a cat-and-mouse game. The operator of a popular stream-ripper, who prefers to remain anonymous, managed to get around the blockade by deploying several proxy servers.

I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends. And for what? To block sites that are sometimes used by users to infringe, but not always, and to appease a music industry that is never, ever, ever going to be on YouTube's side? Come on.

Filed Under: blocking, copyright, stream ripping
Companies: youtube


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 5:51pm

    'Okay, but they might not stab me with THAT knife...'

    And for what? To block sites that are sometimes used by users to infringe, but not always, and to appease a music industry that is never, ever, ever going to be on YouTube's side? Come on.

    That is probably both the most confusing and frustrating part of actions like this. Anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention, and especially a company that has constantly been harangued and harassed as enabling infringement, should absolutely know by now that nothing will ever be enough for the maximalists, and giving an inch will merely result in the demand for a mile.

    In the short term is may seem cheaper to make 'concessions', but when you factor in the fact that no amount of concessions will ever be enough and they will always have to keep scrambling to meet increasingly insane demands it's almost certainly cheaper to put their foot down and point out that they've already gone above and beyond and if the ones issuing the demands want more they can do it themselves with the tools they already have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:48pm

      Re: 'Okay, but they might not stab me with THAT knife...'

      It is always a temptation to an armed and agile [i]corporation[/i]
      To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
      "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
      Unless you pay us cash to go away."

      And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
      And the people who ask it explain
      That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
      And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

      It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy [i]corporation[/i],
      To puff and look important and to say: --
      "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
      We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

      And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
      But we've proved it again and again,
      That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
      You never get rid of the Dane.

      It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any [i]corporation[/i],
      For fear they should succumb and go astray;
      So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
      You will find it better policy to say: --

      "We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
      No matter how trifling the cost;
      For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
      And the [i]corporation[/i] that pays it is lost!"

      -- Rudyard Kipling, [i]Dane-Geld[/i]
      (Wording slightly altered for topicality's sake)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:45pm

    As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

    ... that is what I use anyway. Does batch downloads, offers a choice of quality settings, supports hundreds of different video sites (not just YouTube), gets rapidly updated for site changes ... what more could you want?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shmerl, 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:50pm

      Re: As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

      What do you think those sites were using? Probably the same youtbe-dl ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 1:05am

      Re: As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

      Me too.

      Brilliant tool.

      Has the added benefit of Alphabet knowings as little as possible.

      Also Start Tor and add --sock5 127.0.0.1 and they know even less.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2019 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

        Also Start Tor and add --sock5 127.0.0.1 and they know even less.

        It's easier to write "torsocks youtube-dl". I'm surprised that still works, and they haven't blocked Tor like they have for Google Search and some other services.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 6:31am

      Re: As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

      The thing about youtube-dl is that the fewer people know about it, the more likely it is to keep working.

      I've already noticed in the last year that sometimes it stops working, once you update it, it is working again. So there already appears to be an arms race going on.

      Youtube-dl has a lot of options. Look at them. In particular, you can collect a batch of URLs into a file, and then pass the file to do an entire download session. There are options to select the best quality, or audio only, etc.

      Once you have a batch file, you could switch to a different IP address to run youtube-dl. You can get a VPS (virtual private server) for $5 / month from places like Linode or Digital Ocean. You can run any version of Linux you like. You don't need to install a GUI. You can run commands from the VPS.

      Your video downloads will be done from a different machine, not from a browser, but from a script, and won't have your login cookies from your browser.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Daria B., 18 Jul 2019 @ 2:58am

      Re: As Long As youtube-dl Still Works ...

      Well then why https://savetomp3.cc is still working ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:47pm

    Some stream ripping sites still work.

    There is also the old standby of plugging a tape recorder into the back of your computer and recording onto cassette tapes

    In the days when cars had cassette players and legal music had DRM, that is how I used to do it have my music in the car. Just plug in my tape recorder and record onto cassette tapes.

    That did not violate the DMCA because I was doing it for my own personal in car listening and was not doing it for any kind of financial gain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      michael, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:23pm

      Re:

      Cassette tapes? Really? There are a thousand Chrome/Firefox plugins to download YouTube audio and/or video, and if that fails (and it never will), Audacity will record any sound on your computer for free.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 9:49pm

      Re:

      That's not how the DMCA works.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:28am

      Re:

      "That did not violate the DMCA because I was doing it for my own personal in car listening and was not doing it for any kind of financial gain."

      You might want to read the DCMA again, although to be fair I don't think it applies to analog media. It damn well does apply to non-commercial infringement, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 12 Jul 2019 @ 4:44am

      My memory may be a bit hazy...

      but, by the time the DMCA was in effect, I don't think cars had cassette players. Better option was to rip from CD back in those days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      There is also the old standby of plugging a tape recorder into the back of your computer and recording onto cassette tapes

      But I want video! So I'll have to use my VHS unit instead.

      Shhhhhhhh! This must be illegal.

      But the betamax court case?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2019 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re:

        But I want video! So I'll have to use my VHS unit instead.
        Shhhhhhhh! This must be illegal.

        Make sure you're using a pre-1985 VCR, before they were redesigned to be vulnerable to Macrovision.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andy, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:52pm

    Yeah.. so.. there is plenty of browser extensions and software you can run locally that’s also free that does this.

    Regardless, catch22: this move promotes piracy. I guess as long as it’s not “don’t be evil” Google. Ironic that I can find said 3rd party software using their own search engine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:55pm

    Part of it may be to force more people to watch ads.

    Even one pirate site, primewire, has it set up now where you have to watch movies inside their website instead of being redirected to Openload. By attacking stream ripping that way, primewire can now make people view their pre roll ads, and they have found a way to get past adblockers.

    I think Google's intent is the same in blocking steam ripping. They are already planning to break ad blockers for chrome users, so it only makes sense they would block stream rippers to make more people watch ads to get more ad revenue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andy, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      Any seasoned app developer can create a stream ripper in no time. Drop in FFMpeg for audio ripping and you’re done. Extensions can do the same thing in combination with an ad blocker it’s an unstoppable solution.

      Chrome blocks uBlock Origin? Edge, FF, etc will be my default browser.

      They are fighting a losing battle to stay on the up and up with the mafia (MPAA)

      “Look! We are doing something! Leave us alone now”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:01pm

    One step forward, two steps back...

    YouTube just took a good step forward by changing its policy on manual Content ID claims. Now, they seem to want to screw with its userbase even more by disabling access to streaming sites? Just like Lawrence said above me, I frequently use youtube-dl, so it's not a huge issue for me, but still! Many YouTube to MP3 sites blocks downloading videos that have music in, with less-than-staggering results.

    As an experiment a while ago, I took one of my own YouTube videos on attempting to run a problematic Hackintosh kext (which had no music in), changed the category temporarily to music, and tried downloading it from a site known to block downloads of videos containing music. It threw an error saying something to the effect of "Music cannot be downloaded with our tool." So at least one site isn't resulting in the proliferating of people ripping music (or the audio from one of my own videos) from YouTube!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:13pm

    DRM

    What is it that stops YouTube from rolling out DRM across the board? Netflix gets away with being able to shun DRM refuseniks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andy, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:36pm

      Re: DRM

      You limit your audience. The moment they force DRM is the minute they lose tons of device compatibility.

      YouTube needs to run on old browsers, old IoT devices, etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 9:05pm

        Re: Re: DRM

        Netflix as already mentioned considers those users insignificant. Is it not inevitable that the pros of DRM (wiping out much of the ripping issue and pleasing copyright holders) for YouTube will soon outweigh the cons of cutting off a dwindling non DRM-supporting userbase? Or if not cutting off completely, limiting them to lower quality formats.

        They're playing around with blocking ripping sites at the moment but the DRM sledgehammer looms.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 3:13am

      Re: DRM

      Netflix is a commercial site, while YouTube is full of personal videos. Also, YouTube is not the copyright owner, or publisher with an interest in controlling distribution.

      Anybody using YouTube is free to distribute their videos on other channels, and some also use the likes of Bitchute to ensure that their videos remain available should YouTube shut them down.

      Indeed, if somebody else offered a Video site with the features of YouTube that make building a fan base, finding videos and linking to related channels easy, I think a lot of people would move their instantly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Policy-based Impediment - MM's phrase, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:14pm

    Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

    You're just spewing long-held notion that piracy can't be defeated, when every day it's being done.

    odd move for a company that used to tout a mantra of "Don't be evil."

    A) That was sheerly PR slogan, never serious by their own statement, certainly never actually practiced.

    2) As I've told you several times, a "mantra" is a Hindu prayer. Quit mis-appropriating to your own notions, you cultural white-devil. Just because think you're "woke" doesn't mean you are.

    IIV) It's not "odd". The CIA was involved in Google's creation more than what's-his-name and Brin. They're just front men, academics; they were not just handed billions and told to go create a company, pick people based on your feelings without investigation, buy whatever space and hardware you think right, but had everything handed to them with management experts in place.

    ....) Youtube is not and never was Google, and less with both now under "Alphabet". You are simply trivially confounding them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Policy-based Impediment - MM's phrase, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:15pm

      Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

      [There's definitely a length limit on comment body now: hit twice today. Masnick trying to make more comments, I bet.]

      While YouTube's efforts, intentional or not, are effective, they will likely trigger a cat-and-mouse game. The operator of a popular stream-ripper, who prefers to remain anonymous, managed to get around the blockade by deploying several proxy servers.

      Easily noticed by amount of data, OR simpler by going to main site and following through with, er, "netroute" or whatever -- which an "IT" expert such as you (and "Gary" by no coincidence) claim to be should think of before stating it's a problem for real experts. Maybe they've already thought ahead of you and sites, Timmy.

      By the way, at Torrent Freak rat now: two Krauts sentenced to JAIL for piracy, one 44 months, other 22 months. Enjoy your illegal ripping while it lasts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 10:49pm

        Re: Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          lucidrenegade (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 9:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

          I don't know why you guys continually respond to his posts. They're going to get flagged into oblivion anyway, so no-one has to see them. He's either mentally ill or looking for attention, and you all keep giving it to him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:49pm

        Re: Re:

        There's definitely a length limit on comment body now: hit twice today. Masnick trying to make more comments, I bet.

        I just exceeded your comment length by double or more in my reply below. So you're wrong. Big surprise.

        Easily noticed by amount of data, OR simpler by going to main site and following through with, er, "netroute" or whatever -- which an "IT" expert such as you

        Well it certainly isn't you. You're a walking ID-10T error.

        By the way, at Torrent Freak rat now: two Krauts sentenced to JAIL for piracy, one 44 months, other 22 months.

        Perhaps that's because they actually did something illegal? As noted in the article, there's lots of ripping that is perfectly legal and won't get anyone in trouble. Like public educational rips, or ripping a CD that you own.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 10:48pm

      Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

      Why’d you run away from the other thread bro? Why are you so afraid?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:44pm

      Re:

      You're just spewing long-held notion that piracy can't be defeated, when every day it's being done.

      Really? Then why are you still complaining about people pirating stuff? By your own statement it should have been stopped by now.

      That was sheerly PR slogan, never serious by their own statement, certainly never actually practiced.

      You know this how?

      As I've told you several times, a "mantra" is a Hindu prayer.

      No it's not. Mantras have been around a lot longer than Hinduism.

      Quit mis-appropriating to your own notions, you cultural white-devil.

      This coming from you?

      Just because think you're "woke" doesn't mean you are.

      Well you sure ain't.

      IIV)

      That's not how you write the Roman numeral for 3, it's "III".

      The CIA was involved in Google's creation

      No they weren't. Google came into being and existed for many years with zero assistance from the CIA. It wasn't until Google purchased Keyhole (which was funded by the CIA) that you can kind of sort of squint and say the CIA helped fund Google. The CIA still didn't provide any funding directly to Google, they just sold Google a company they did help fund and didn't want anymore.

      They're just front men, academics

      Well they are the face of Google and they did go to college, yes. So?

      they were not just handed billions and told to go create a company

      Well, no, they didn't. They developed the Google search algorithm and engine from scratch in their spare time at college when they were very likely broke and released it once it was ready. They didn't go from zero to billionaire's overnight. They acquired that over many, many years, involving many, many new product developments that helped add to their revenue stream.

      pick people based on your feelings without investigation

      You have intimate knowledge of how their HR department works and what their hiring process is like?

      buy whatever space and hardware you think right

      I believe that's any company's prerogative, isn't it? I mean, not just any space and hardware is going to work for a company. Google certainly couldn't do what it does today if it operated out of a dinky datacenter in the middle of nowhere.

      had everything handed to them with management experts in place.

      No they didn't. They built a lot of it from scratch. Not to mention there are companies and people out there who sell their services to tell companies what things to buy, what management policies to put into place, etc... Google did not spring fully formed from the ether. But I suppose if you were living under a rock for the last couple decades it could seem that way.

      Youtube is not and never was Google

      Well, that's partially true, they didn't start out as part of Google. They were their own company. It wasn't until years later they got bought by Google. Now they are a part of Google, or at least Alphabet.

      You are simply trivially confounding them.

      Please explain then how owning a thing doesn't make it your thing. The only confounding thing here is your delusional logic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dumbass, 13 Jul 2019 @ 6:44am

        Re: Re:google was created by the US Government

        created and funded, all the documentation used to be available on the internet, but it got removed, like many things, the censorship did not start today, it has been here all along

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:25am

      Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

      "had everything handed to them with management experts in place."

      You know, when people can not only look at documented evidence to show you're full of shit, but the history of Google is well known to anyone who was in the industry at the time, your conspiracy theories won't register as a speed bump before people start laughing at you.

      You suck at writing believable fiction. Which presumably is why you're here whining about how much your failure is the fault of everyone else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bobvious, 12 Jul 2019 @ 5:32am

        Re: Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

        Knowledge wants to be free? Will InfoSeek the freedom offered by All the Web? Some Yahoo will just AskJeeves instead.

        There are some who say that a HotBot will Excite Blue and that he's never MetaCrawler he didn't like.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 5:34am

      Re: Good idea: carpet bomb them all to hell.

      “They are just front men academics”

      The dumb hate the smart because it makes them look as inferior as they are lol

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 12 Jul 2019 @ 3:29pm

      Re: piracy can't be defeated, when every day it's being done.

      Is this like Mark Twain’s comment that giving up smoking was easy, he’d done it hundreds of times?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Policy-based Impediment - MM's phrase, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:25pm

    Here's who Youtube actually is:

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:51pm

      Re: Here's who Youtube actually is:

      It's always nice when you reveal just how desperate you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:22pm

      Re:

      So by looking at one person you can tell what the other 700+ people who work at Youtube are like? How come none of them have gone on a drug-induced rampage? Gee, it's almost like he's the exception, not the rule.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:19am

        Re: Re:

        "the other 700+ people who work at Youtube"

        700+? That sounded low, and a quick check suggests around 5,000+. That makes your point more, rather than less, relevant though.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 7:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          My Google-fu failed me in my sleep deprived state and all I could find was a number from several years ago. So I added a + and called it good.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:06am

      Re: Here's who Youtube actually is:

      Here's who copyright enforcement actually is: Paul Hansmeier.

      You're welcome.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:21am

      Re: Here's who Youtube actually is:

      So... you're saying that the US military is really a bunch of murderous psychopaths because of the 2 Fort Hood shootings. Got it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 2:13am

        Re: Re: Here's who Youtube actually is:

        To sum it up, blue now has no space to complain about "anomalies".

        Because he just literally claimed that anomalies define the norm.

        Not that it changes for those of us sane folks who already treat most copyright enforcement efforts with disdain for all the collateral damage they inflict.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:37pm

    A program called Any Video Converter errors out now too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Digital marketing

    Yogesh would you please teach blue balls over there to form complete sentences?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DocGerbil100, 11 Jul 2019 @ 10:51pm

    Hello, Mr Geigner. :)

    It's an odd one, innit? The thought occurs that YouTube may have intentions other than directly blocking these particular sites. I find the choice of sites most curious.

    YouTube may simply be testing the waters - poking the anthill, as it were - just to see how these sites respond to blocking efforts on a technical level. They might have been chosen at random, or they may exhibit usefully distinct qualities in how they access YouTube. More comprehensive blocking efforts - potentially affecting more stream-ripping solutions - might follow later, if that's the case.

    Alternatively, the goal here might be litigative: a demonstration that such sites can easily route around such blocks. Being able to show later that sincere efforts were made, but all too easily defeated, seems like something that would limit future legal efforts to claim that YouTube could have prevented infringements by these sites, yet chose not to do so. Given the current general legal climate - and particularly considering recent changes to EU law - that seems to me to be a very plausible motive.

    In any event, I'd be lying if I claimed to be too concerned for the fate of stream-ripping sites. I'm a pirate, I'm all in favour of most piratey things, generally speaking, but I find it difficult to consider that these kinds of sites might be especially worth fighting for.

    Fundamentally, the only really plausible reason to keep these services on websites - as opposed to something installed on end-users' machines, as seems to be the case for most such solutions - is to generate advertising revenue via those sites. With the bulk of that revenue allegedly produced by rips of music industry tracks, it honestly seems to me that they're painting the target on their own backs. Stab a fat cat in the arse with a fork for long enough and - however gently you've done it - sooner or later, it's going to try and eat your face off.

    Don't get me wrong, I can see the merits of your example, I can see numerous other situations where these sites are of genuine social value, but none that don't seem better served by other ripping solutions. Chugging everything through extra central servers, mainly for the benefit of some largely-unnecessary middlemen, seems wasteful at best. Given that, given also the high visibility of these operations and given also the risk of creating new, harmful legal precedents in any number of courts, I can't help but feel they're potentially doing the world of piracy far more harm than good.

    One last thing: various pro-copyright organisations have claimed that the overwhelming usage of these sites is for music piracy. It seems plausible, but they sound a bit more sure of themselves than I'd expect from just pulling "facts" completely out of their rears again, like they did in the old days. Do they have some evidence from a study somewhere - another Carnegy Mellon hatchet-job, perhaps? I'd be quite interested in seeing what they actually have - and discovering whether their methodology stands up to scrutiny or once again falls apart at the slightest touch.

    Many thanks for your time, Mr Geigner. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      I'm a pirate, I'm all in favour of most piratey things, generally speaking

      Pfffft. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      REAL pirates generally don't publicly admit that they are pirates and they most DEFINITELY don't talk like that. Especially making vague references to "piratey things".

      Not to mention that the entire rest of your post is basically hinting that Tim is wrong and the music industry is right. Pirates generally don't shoot themselves in the foot like that.

      Nice try troll, thanks for the laugh.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re:

        (I normally ignore trolls, lying little toads that they are. I've not long woken up, though, so I'll make an exception and answer while I wait for the alcohol, drugs and caffeine to do their thing.)

        Yours is clearly a trolling reply, in that it's entirely off-topic, responds only with false assertions and without answering any point of substance at all.

        "REAL pirates [...]"

        -- Rather self-evidently, you are wrong, since I just did exactly that. Hard to prove, admittedly, even if I wanted to. Did a Google search for my handle to find my online presence has all but disappeared from the web. This is both a good and bad thing in many ways. I used to be everywhere that was anywhere, back in the day, but so many good public sites have gone... ah, well. The people who matter to me are the ones who remember my name. If you don't remember it, or never knew it, you probably don't matter.

        Actually, though, I'm fascinated by your suggestion that pirates should be afraid to admit to piracy. You're obviously in the UK, same as I am. What's supposed to happen? Are the thought police going to suddenly kick the door in and place me under arrest for... what, exactly? Ancient torrents that don't exist any more? Supporting an unfashionable political party? Questionable dress-sense?

        Thinking on, I'm about 65% sure I could upload a torrent to TPB, slap the URL on a t-shirt and do a dance in front of the nearest nick, whilst singing I'M A FUCKING PIRATE! SUCK MY PIRATEY GOODNESS! at the top of my lungs and the most my local police would do is tell me to fuck off home. Maybe lock me up for the day on a D&D charge, if I annoy them enough.

        I suppose boasting about piracy might be a bad idea if you're part of the Scene, work for an organisation directly involved in law- or copyright-enforcement or some kind of legal firm - or happen to be standing in front of someone who does - but other than that, it's hard to see much of a problem. I've certainly never met anyone obviously afraid to talk about piracy. Nobody should be - and I don't think anyone is.

        "[...] basically hinting that Tim is wrong and the music industry is right [...]"

        Hardly. Along with idiot fully-loaded-IPTV-flogging clowns who advertise on eBay, stream-ripping sites are very much the low-hanging fruit of anti-piracy lawsuits and everyone knows it. Even if they get completely lynched in the courts, they're not going to be a major victory against pirates, they're a cheap, lazy way for anti-piracy companies to get what they see as positive - if largely unimpressive - headlines, in return for doing almost nothing.

        Given that the copyright industry's headlines otherwise consist of reports on Kim DotCom's interminable case, lesser nothings from FACT and embarrassing nonsense by PIPCU, I feel that it might be better if those on our side of the fence weren't going so far out of their way to do the opposition's job for it. We should be saving our own bacon, as it were, not theirs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          DocGerbil100, 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I forgot to put my name. Sod's law, right fucking there. :P

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I normally ignore trolls, lying little toads that they are.

          Wow, you must really hate yourself then.

          Hard to prove, admittedly, even if I wanted to.

          And thus the crux of the matter. You say you're a pirate but don't act like one and generally don't understand the basics of what is involved in being a pirate. Therefore, I don't believe you.

          I used to be everywhere that was anywhere, back in the day, but so many good public sites have gone.

          Old man longs for the good old days and tells exaggerated tales of his notoriety. News at 11.

          I'm fascinated by your suggestion that pirates should be afraid to admit to piracy.

          Well, piracy is illegal and as such, admitting to engaging in it is a really good way to land yourself in a prison cell.

          You're obviously in the UK, same as I am.

          Obviously? Not even close. USA born and raised. But regardless, why does that even matter?

          What's supposed to happen? Are the thought police going to suddenly kick the door in and place me under arrest

          No, but the actual police probably would.

          what, exactly? Ancient torrents that don't exist any more?

          Piracy is still piracy. If you are still engaging in it then you aren't downloading torrents that no longer exist, since you can't download what doesn't exist. (Do you get why I don't believe you yet?)

          Supporting an unfashionable political party? Questionable dress-sense?

          The topic is piracy, not anything else.

          I'm about 65% sure I could upload a torrent to TPB, slap the URL on a t-shirt and do a dance in front of the nearest nick, whilst singing I'M A FUCKING PIRATE! SUCK MY PIRATEY GOODNESS! at the top of my lungs and the most my local police would do is tell me to fuck off home.

          Because in that instance no reasonable person would take you seriously. Though I suppose the police could still investigate, uncover evidence of you being a pirate (which you are not), and then arrest you.

          it's hard to see much of a problem

          Well then you really don't understand reality then.

          I've certainly never met anyone obviously afraid to talk about piracy.

          Talking about piracy is not the same thing as admitting to engaging in it. I talk about a lot of things, piracy included, but that doesn't mean I actively engage in said things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            DocGerbil100, 12 Jul 2019 @ 5:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You say you're a pirate but don't act like one [...]"

            Wait, do you mean we're all supposed to be the same? I didn't know that! Since a statistical majority of worldwide pirates are probably going to be located in China, does this mean I now have to learn Mandarin?

            "[...] and generally don't understand the basics of what is involved in being a pirate."

            ... which would presumably involve frightened secrecy? Please. Even the average musician isn't scared of admitting to being a pirate, unless they're standing in front of a journalist or someone else who might conceivably hold it against them.

            "Old man longs for the good old days and tells exaggerated tales of his notoriety."

            Got me there! Apart from the "longs for" bit: I quite like today's technology, thank you. I could definitely do with not having lost the original Demonoid and WhatCD, though. While there's other sites doing much the same job, those really were fantastic sites to be on, when they were alive and in their prime.

            "Well, piracy is illegal and as such, admitting to engaging in it is a really good way to land yourself in a prison cell."

            In what country? Certainly not the US or UK. In both our countries, unless one engages in piracy on a seriously industrial scale - and usually with demonstrable comparably-large earnings - the laws, the police and the courts all routinely treat such matters as being a civil tort, rather than a criminal offence.

            While their are certainly exceptions to the rule (and copyright trolls are unquestionably a thing in many countries, most notably the US and Germany), by and large, the most the average pirate can expect in most places, most of the time, seems to be either a C&D or a doorstep visit and a stern talking-to by reps from the local anti-pirates.

            The occasional bit of news that some poor sod's been arrested - much less jailed or given an immense fine - are only news precisely because that's not the norm. When the odds of somebody you know getting done that way exceed your chances of winning the National Lottery, it's hard to find it worrying.

            If the news from the last few months is anything to go by, you're far more likely to go to jail if you're an abusive copyright troll than a pirate.

            "USA born and raised. But regardless, why does that even matter?"

            I have my reasons. You needn't concern yourself with what those are.

            "The topic is piracy, not anything else."

            Actually, the topic's quite specifically YouTube blocking stream-ripping sites, something you've carefully avoided discussing, in any direct way at all. In any case, my politics and my dress-sense are certainly piracy-related, although I can forgive you for not knowing that, seeing as you don't know who I am and can't find out.


            Looking at my posts objectively, it's entirely possible others may genuinely assume that I'm trolling. They're entirely welcome to do so, although I naturally maintain that they're mistaken. While I certainly get things wrong some of the time, I've always and only ever tried to offer honest and (hopefully) sometimes-useful feedback to the original articles.

            In my view, no-one should be afraid of being seen to be wrong: it happens sometimes and that's life. No-one should be afraid to express their honestly-held views, even if they disagree with those around them. While I won't intentionally encourage stupidity, no-one should be afraid to stand up and be counted for what they care about, as and when the time's right.

            Unlike the rather-obvious alt-right troll I'm replying to (a person who clearly expects and hopes for everyone else to be as deceitful, weak, frightened and impotent as himself and his sociopathic friends), I believe that communication exists to help us all find truth in our lives - and truth requires courage, something evidently in short supply for the alt-right.

            For myself, I've enough courage to say truthfully, as a pirate, that some of our services are brilliant, most are "merely" okay - and that some, with hindsight, involve dubious ways of distributing content that just aren't worth doing a dance for.

            I'm such a brave soldier! :D

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2019 @ 11:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, i don't know what the deal is with the accusation that you are some kind of crypto-copyright maximalist. Wasn't seeing it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lsakdahg (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:42pm

    Meh. Not that big of a deal.

    If you have a YouTube premium account, you can download videos and watch (or listen to) them offline. So that pretty much negates every argument you made against this move. This really seems like a non-issue, to be honest. I guess if you want to make a big stink about having to pay for YouTube Premium, that's fine; I won't be bothered to die on that hill, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Simon Dufour (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 4:53am

      Re: Meh. Not that big of a deal.

      I don't get why you're the only person mentionning YouTube Premium. People go around telling you how stupid you are from paying for that but then go all entitled that they shouldn't need to watch ads or should be able to download videos hosted on Google Servers for free.. because they're free courses.. and therefore are evil. Personally, I'm proud to be paying for YT Premium because people I like get their share without me having to watch ads. And now, I have the BEST way to download the content I want on the go.. without having to rip a stream.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bob, 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: Meh. Not that big of a deal.

        I don't have a premium account and I don't watch ads on YouTube either.

        Also there are better sites where people can post audio tracks for free download and consumption if the author wants to not put it on YouTube. No ripping required.

        Now for video download, yeah you are kind of stuck with ripping if you want a copy of the content.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Jul 2019 @ 12:04am

    "That being said, it's an odd move for a company that used to tout a mantra of "Don't be evil.""

    Not really. There's 3 likely explanations here - they want to stem some of the constant stream of attacks they're getting, they want to get people using their official download options (their app lets you download if you subscribe IIRC) or they've simply identified that the costs in serving videos downloaded by these sites and lost ad revenue is getting to a point where they need to stop it.

    Like any move they make on any subject, it's going to affect both legal and illegal content, legitimate and illegitimate usage. But, whatever the reasoning it's not exactly a surprising or evil move.

    "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."

    There's also the possibility that this isn't a deliberate move to block stream rippers. The message simply states that an IP is making too many requests. It's very possible that they've made some QOS changes to their network to try and fix some bottlenecks and lowering the connection limit slightly has had the effect of blocking the biggest network hogs, who also just happen to be stream ripping sites. They may not be talking about it as deliberate policy because it's not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 3:43pm

      Re:

      Fourth reason could be their company, their way, the end.

      There are more sites than just YouTube, you can even start a competing site yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 6:50am

    just one more manifestation

    Of the need for a large and coordinated effort to destroy the Music Industry is it exists now. It is a parasite that needs to be expunged.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 7:15am

    Content creators

    On top of that, how about any artist or content creator who might actually enjoy the fact that their material can be made audibly available in this manner?

    They need to make sure their material is available on a more user-friendly site, then. I'll even suggest one: archive.org. They almost always (ie. unless there are legal complaints) let people download the original file and various transcoded versions. There's no charge, no ads, no ContentID.

    (Their search/discovery features suck; uploaders may wish to build their own index elsewhere and link to archive.org.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 12 Jul 2019 @ 11:30am

    OK, this may be a dumb question, but...

    There are tons of YouTube download sites on the net. All of them are capable of figuring out the link to the actual video files so that you can download them. It's not as if they magically create the links, they just figure out what the links are.

    So why is it that all the browser extensions seem to rely on these sites rather than doing it themselves? For that matter, why is it that the only stand-alone programs that seem to be capable of downloading a video directly from YouTube are all commercial programs? Why has nobody created a simple, free little program where you input the URL of a video page and it gives you a list of download links, like the ripping sites do?

    If such a program exists, I've never found it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      Is youtube-dl not serviceable for your purposes?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2019 @ 2:10pm

        Re: Re:

        If not, try cclive (aka. clive), get-flash-videos, nomnom, quvi, or smtube. All packaged in Debian, as is youtube-dl.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 16 Jul 2019 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        Is youtube-dl not serviceable for your purposes?

        I wasn't aware of it when I posted. It's pretty good, although I wish it had the ability to use multiple connections to speed up the downloads. As it is, I have to use it to generate the video URL, output that URL to a file and then import that file into a download manager.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 12 Jul 2019 @ 2:03pm

    Follow the money...

    Youtube is offering automatic downloads for YouTube Red subscribers today. Ripping sites mean you don’t need to pay YouTube.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tp, 13 Jul 2019 @ 10:01am

    Youtube's TOS explicitly forbids this use case

    When youtube was designed, its designers decided under which rules the usage of youtube's platform is actually legal for the end users. These rules exists in form of TOS, and allow end users to examine the thinking process behind youtube's technology. The TOS explicitly forbids moving the videos outside of youtube's system, given that only youtube has a license to display the material according to the upload page that youtube requires video publishers to agree on. This page doesnt allow entities outside of youtube's system a permission to display the material. Thus moving the videos outside of youtube runs a risk of violating the copyright of individual videos. The TOS warns about this problem, but guess the video ripping sites never bothered to read the legal paperwork. Given these facts, it's perfectly OK for youtube to block video access from the video ripping and download sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2019 @ 5:59pm

      Re:

      Oh joy, it's Mr. Meshpage again. What, the advertising on two London buses didn't work out for your government-mandated mansion?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 15 Jul 2019 @ 10:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Ha ha I didn't spot him till you pointed it out. I wonder if he ever managed to work out how to explain his shoddy software in terms that people in the market would understand, let alone avoid the cryptic shite he was throwing at people who would never buy it even if they knew what it was.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2019 @ 11:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There's also the fact that every blurb on his site literally puts the source code behind every animation without charges, so goodness knows what he's selling, or enough of it to generate a mansion.

          Of course, he might simply be acting as a complete fucknugget just to drive people to his "small impact" tool (small impact, fantastic marketing you have their Puke-innen!), but in that case, why the hell would you do that on Techdirt?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            tp, 17 Jul 2019 @ 1:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            so goodness knows what he's selling, or enough of it to generate a mansion.

            Current trend is that the community ought to generate these digital assets, given that players like youtube get their assets for free. As before, the plans for the mansion are still missing, even though the promise of internet is that these digital assets can be built using huge communities who are interested in tinkering with the technology. But reality seems to be that noone is interested in my mansion, given that I haven't even received anything recembling a plan to build a mansion, even though I have provided all the necessary tools to get the job done.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 7:45am

    This doesn't even do anything to prevent people from saving videos or converting videos to MP3s except make it slightly more inconvenient. You either use a video downloader plugin then convert the video to whatever format you want or, worse-case-scenario, you manually record the video off Youtube with capture software, edit out any ads (ugh), and then save it however you want.

    Essentially shutting down the functionality of those websites basically just acts as a giant middle finger to its users without actually doing anything to stop those options. All it does is change how you have to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      tp, 17 Jul 2019 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      This doesn't even do anything to prevent people from saving videos or converting videos to MP3s except make it slightly more inconvenient. All it does is change how you have to do it.

      Making it inconvinient enough is already good enough. Technological limitations are always just that -- making the unwanted use cases so inconvinient that noone bothers to do them.

      This same way was how browsers managed to make "downloading" all content on the web acceptable even though RIAA/MPAA are marking everyone with internet connection and ability to download as evil pirates. Building good enough tech limitations can make previously completely forbidden operations to be acceptable and useful tech innovations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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