After the music industry complained about YouTube stream-rippers for many years, the streaming service took a drastic measure last week.
As first reported here, YouTube began blocking several popular stream-ripping tools, which resulted in these sites becoming unusable.
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YouTube didn’t repond to our request for comment, but it appeared to be a concerted efforts to prevent outsiders from downloading music from the platform. A big move, which generated widespread attention, all the way up to the US Congress.
House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, reportedly reached out to Google in response. Nadler is a driving force behind many copyright reform proposals and known as a staunch advocate of a more aggresive anti-piracy approach by tech companies.
According to CNET, Nadler was interested in hearing more about the blocking measures, and he’s not alone. Several music industry insiders have shown a keen interest in the developments as well, and the RIAA is cautiously optimistic following the news.
“While we do not yet know how effective these new measures are, we applaud YouTube for taking affirmative steps towards shutting down the fastest growing form of music piracy,” RIAA boss Mitch Glazier said.
YouTube, meanwhile, has yet to respond to our request for more details. CNET was more lucky, and quotes the video platform stating that “some MP3 stream ripping sites” were blocked after the platform made some changes recently.
“It’s our desire to be good partners to our content licensors as our interests are aligned on thwarting violative downloads and downloader site,” YouTube added in a statement.
While YouTube is happy to side with the music industry and the music industry is pleased with the enforcement efforts, the blocked sites are not sitting still. As is often the case when something becomes blocked online, people quickly find ways to thwart or circumvent the efforts.
And indeed, little over a week after the blocking efforts started, many of the targeted sites are able to rip MP3s from YouTube again.
Mp3-youtube.download almost instantly announced that it was working on a fix and today the site is working just fine. The same is true for Dlnowsoft.com, which was also blocked last week, as well as the massively popular Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet.
TorrentFreak spoke to the operator of a stream-ripping site who prefers to remain anonymous. He confirmed that bypassing YouTube’s block wasn’t that complicated. Simply moving the site to new IP-addresses did the trick.
“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.
Although it’s unlikely that YouTube can completely ban stream-ripping sites from its platform, continued blocking efforts may eventually prompt some site operators and users to give up. Whether these users will switch to legal services or other ”free’ resources, remains a question, of course.