Legal battles over alleged copyright infringement are nothing new, but the recording industry may be blazing new trails with its most recent action. More than two dozen recording labels have gotten together in Japan to sue the owners of a YouTube downloader site called TubeFire. They are demanding more than $3 million in damages.
TubeFire not only allows user to download the video files for a YouTube video, but to extract the audio track as an mp3. The suit, filed on August 19, claims that this process of copying, converting, and distributing the content is an infringement. The $3 million number was arrived at by estimating the number of downloads processed by TubeFire, then working out what the licensing fee would have been.
This case is unique because the content, infringing or not, is already available free on YouTube already. TubeFire says it has worked to prevent piracy, but that it will close temporarily while the case proceeds. Really, that’s probably all the labels want. TubeFire is far from the only service that offers YouTube conversions. Do you think similar services are at risk as well?