I have a friend who has loaded up over 700 songs on his iPod and one day I confronted him on how he could never chip in for Arby’s but spent almost $1,000 on iTunes. He looked at me like I was an idiot with Arby-Q sauce all over my face as he broke down how he simply records songs off YouTube and transfers them into MP3’s.
He said it was just like how back in the day how we used to record songs off the radio onto cassette tapes, only without the annoying sounds of people talking in the background and the loud racket of fumbling between stop and rewind at the end of the song. He made it seemed legit but I wondered what is the true legality of downloading from YouTube?
”Rocking out to a pretty sweet mixed tape”. Circa 1987
Turning your favorite YouTube video into an MP3 song you can store on your computer or iPod is actually pretty easy. Through 3rd party affiliates, you can simply copy the URL of the current Firehouse video you’re watching. Then, paste this URL into a site such as YouTubetoMP3.org and that web pages software will do the conversion for you. You can then download the converted “Love Of A Lifetime” to your computer and you’ll own the song just like you’d bought it off iTunes.
Where the question of the legality of YouTube recording tools comes in to play is in regards to putting food on Firehouse’s table. When you copy and paste a URL into 3rd party software to make an MP3, there’s no record and thus Firehouse doesn’t get paid as they would if you’d pay $.99 for the songs off iTunes. Why would you take money from Firehouse?
”Firehouse gotta eat too, bro”
Downloading YouTube Videos Battle
There is currently a battle going on between YouTube (Google) and these 3rd party developers about the legality of such recording tools. The encoding sites state they’re offering public consumption for private use, similar to how you’d record songs off the radio in the 90’s. YouTube on the other hand says they are losing money off of sites that convert their content into MP3’s without actually having to watch the entire video. YouTube is consistently looking into ways to monetize their content and can’t get an accurate depiction of video views if people are simply copying URL’s.
Google has taken steps to impede the accessibility of these 3rd party sites by changing encryption procedures and the web sites have retaliated with an online petition that is surging towards half a million signatures. As of now, it is not illegal to copy videos into MP3’s but there are questions about the ethics behind it. I guess it boils down to a personal choice if you want to engage in these tactics to build your music library. Nobody knows what the future holds in regards to recording off YouTube. It’s a very distinct possibility that there could be ads embedded into the middle of clips to annoy those who try to rip songs from video, which could lead to a less user-friendly YouTube experience. Only time will tell who ultimately wins the battle between Goliath YouTube and David Third Party Developers but one question has to be asked, “Won’t somebody think of the Firehouse?”