Even though YouTube is primarily thought of as a video platform, many people use the site as a way to host and listen to just about any song they would want to hear for free. Some online services let users easily convert those streaming audio clips into MP3 files, but one of the more popular destinations for this conversion will be shutting down as part of a legal settlement with several record companies.
In 2016, several of the biggest names in music — including Warner Bros., Capitol, Sony, and Universal — sued the operators of YouTube-mp3.org (YTMP3), a site that takes the audio from any YouTube clip and creates a separate MP3 file for the user. They claimed the site aided and participated in an “enormous” level of copyright infringement.
YTMP3 is incredibly popular, with the lawsuit dubbing it “one of the most visited sites in the world,” and claiming that some 40% of all MP3s ripped from YouTube without authorization are made via YTMP3.
That lawsuit is now all but settled, with both parties signing off on a court document last week that proposes a permanent injunction against YTMP3 and its operators from continuing to offer this MP3-ripping service.
If approved, the proposed injunction [PDF] wouldn’t just shut down YTMP3, but would bar the defendants from creating or running any similar service anywhere in the world.
The YTMP3 operators must also turn over control of the YouTube-mp3.org URL to the plaintiffs and pay the record companies an amount that is not disclosed in the filing.
As of the posting of this story on the morning of Sept. 5, 2017, YTMP3 was still live, though attempting to convert a YouTube clip into an MP3 resulted in an error message stating, “We are sorry, this service is not available from your jurisdiction.”