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Google Shuts Down a YouTube to MP3 Converter Site, But Legal Video to MP3 Converters Remain Fair Play

by Joe Kukura on August 2, 2012

YouTube to MP3 converterThe video-sharing website YouTube is the third most popular site on the Internet, streaming a staggering four billion videos every day. That popularity, however, is not all wine and roses and piano-playing cats. Of those four billion YouTube videos viewed daily, many are copyrighted material provided by media businesses for people to view on YouTube. Record labels, television networks, and movie studios are not particularly happy about all this copyright violation among YouTube users. As a result, YouTube is stepping up their efforts to prevent copyright infringement – and their first target is a slew of websites that provide a YouTube to MP3 converter.

The first site YouTube took action against was, a free YouTube to MP3 converter site that voluntarily shut itself down in late June. YouTube, owned by Google, also sent a cease-and-desist letter to one of the biggest MP3 conversion site, According to Google’s own DoubleClick statistics, had been pulling in 1.3 million visitors each day – and YouTube felt most were making illegal MP3 rips of copyrighted music videos.

That said, if you want to convert YouTube video to MP3 files, you can do so provided that the material is not copyrighted and you are only using the MP3 file for your own personal use.


Want a free and easy way to convert videos to MP3? Download RealPlayer and turn videos into MP3 audio files for your personal use.

When YouTube served a cease-and-desist order to the site was given seven days to comply and in the meantime YouTube blocked’s servers from being able to access the site. Currently, is not converting any video to MP3s. Any attempt to create an MP3 file on the site generates an error message reading “Google Inc. doesn’t want you to convert this video. Please sign a petition to change their mind.” The error message is followed by a link to a petition, which currently has over a million signatures.

This is not an isolated incident. Just days later, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asked the popular site to remove all downloads for video to MP3 software. The RIAA released a statement complaining that, “ continues to ignore our requests,” and that “ is profiting from this infringement through advertisements and other ways it derives revenue when people use the site to download these applications.” has not heeded the request, arguing that many of their users are utilizing these software products for legal and non-infringing purposes.

Coincidentally, is owned by CNET, which is owned by CBS. Copyright pirates could theoretically steal copyrighted CBS television shows on the company’s YouTube channel using tools they downloaded from a CBS-owned property.

It’s important to remember that many uses of copyrighted material are considered legal under the fair use doctrine to U.S. copyright law. The fair use doctrine makes exceptions for non-infringing purposes like news reporting, research, education — or just for laughs. Consider YouTube’s first big legal copyright challenge, a 2007 video of a baby dancing to the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy”. Universal Music Group, the copyright holder of that hit song, sued the baby’s mom for copyright violation. A judge ruled in favor of the mom and the baby, citing fair use, and the video’s view counter went from just 28 views to more than a million.

What do you think about converting videos to MP3? Were you aware of the copyright issues? Let us know in the comments below.


{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 surya chhetri August 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

very good

2 Wonderworld September 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

How is this different from taping a television broadcast with a DVR – which is fair use? If copyright owners do not want people to download their content from YouTube then they shouldn’t post it to YouTube. Alternatively, YouTube should stream their content in a non-downloadable format.

3 Joe Kukura September 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

@ Wonderworld… I’m no lawyer, but I think the “use” in “fair use” means using the work of art in some way other than just looking at it or watching it. You can watch a show you’ve DVRed, but if you post it to YouTube then you have “used” it in some active capacity. I think?

4 Paul September 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

I dont know guys….kinda a hard call here

5 panjok2 October 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

I think that fair use …is fair use and that google, record companies, etc should back off! They want money for everything! Before you know it this is what they will do!
If I download the video to my computer and then fly to South America and show it to a guy that lives deep in the jungle….they will want that guy to pay for it too! These copy right infringements have gone too far! Give me a break!

6 Jake October 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Who is google to tell me my rights. They don’t own the US so they need to mind their own business

7 Anonymous October 29, 2012 at 5:50 am

This is bad…we should have a freedom for downloading what we want and not to download what does google inc wants…Googgle inc you don’t have control over us

8 YouTube to mp3 November 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Really interesting!!
This is very helpful post. More interesting word you say more traffic you will get from your comment.

9 sean November 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

will this be resolved anytime soon ,
I just love dowloading my fav tracks for my own listening pleasure

10 Rick November 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I understand both angles. I definitely support buying music to support the artists, it’s why I use iTunes and Amazon. Problem for me comes when I can’t do that. I stumble upon a lot of songs that aren’t available for purchase, so what choice do you have for songs like that besides youtube converters?

11 Mike November 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I understand why Google is doing this, but man is it inconvenient. Strangely enough, I’m actually trying to convert my OWN recorded material from Youtube for a Web Design assignment I have. Sigh…

12 Eugene December 1, 2012 at 6:42 am

I found that some time ago I was unable to copy any of my nephews vids ( Shanedawsontv) to my macs – no matter what I did – even contacting real player – helped – so I came to the conclusion that google has blocked me over copyrights – wonder share did not work eather – changes are taking place and we must accept them – even QuickTime doesn’t work right so I gave up on keeping a record of my nephews work .

13 makes me mad December 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

i dislike the fact that they take the video converters but not the torrent sights where r u really losing money??????????????????????

14 Real Team January 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Hi, I’m not quite sure what the issue is and would really like to help. Please send an email to and provide more details about the issue, so that we can better assist you. Thanks!

15 William December 17, 2012 at 4:42 am

Thank you. I use you tube mp3 download for my personal use and find it really good. It will be disappointing if I cannot continue to do so. As I am 70 years of age my preferences tend to be with classical and the “older” artistes, many of which I can still download. Is there an alternative download method.
Many Thanks

16 William December 17, 2012 at 4:43 am

Thank you. I use you tube mp3 download for my personal use and find it really good. It will be disappointing if I cannot continue to do so. As I am 70 years of age my preferences tend to be with classical and the “older” artistes, many of which I can still download. Is there an alternative download method.
Many Thanks

17 youtube to mp3 December 18, 2012 at 12:05 am

nice post. This is a video sharing website.

18 Ringo98 December 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I will set the record straight for you then. It is okay to copy a song off of YouTube, as long as it’s only going to be for personal use only. The fair use act that was established, specifically says that an individual is allowed one copy for personal use only. Think of it this way. When you record a TV show with your VCR, or DVR, you are then creating one copy for your use. It does not become illegal until you start distributing that show, or music for profit, or non profit use. Just the act of distribution is where it officially becomes illegal.

Now don’t worry, you are not going to get in trouble for showing your own mother in your house hold or any thing. The music industry is not concerned about small potatoes like that. And technically a Court is going to consider people that live under the same roof as one anyways. But don’t send it to your girl friend / boy friend out side of your roof. (The copy you made, stays in your home.)

This is why YouTube offers the URL of the video. And this is why that respectable programs like Real Player, allow single button downloads of any video on YouTube.

Making a copy of a YouTube video, is no different than making a copy of your favorite TV show on your DVR, or VCR. As long as it’s for →YOU←!!!

Also, just to give you extra comfort, this is why Windows Media Player on your computer is able to rip the songs off of your own Cd’s.

PS. I am not a lawyer, or an attorney. (This is just well reserched information.) And only applies to the laws of the United States.


19 Ema January 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

Huh, I didn’t know that. I’ll go through my songs and delete those right now. After all, those people worked hard make those songs or videos and deserve to get paid for it.

20 anon March 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Its bull converting is legal on the basis that youtube put it in public forum that means all copyright laws are null and void public forum means that its for use its like saying using a cd to move a music file to a MP3 is illegal its not or sending via bluetooth

21 6ftsouth April 25, 2013 at 7:28 am

I dont pay to watch youtube there is no difference between me playing the video through my headphones or just the audio. You dont hear porn stars bitching about people downloading videos for free

22 Damian Farmer June 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hello I have a youtube account and I do not agree with the copyright uses that I learned about today. If the website I used is illegal I’ll delete my songs and hand over my account, but I think i’m speaking for everyone when I say that that is ridiculous. This is a free nation. If you wanna listen to music you should be able to do so, Its exactly the same do use wi-fi on a phone to listen to it. I say as long as your not reselling it you should be able to.

Thank you, Damian

23 Damian Farmer June 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm

With my luck the next president will be the CEO of Google.

24 Luckkylou July 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I think it’s all a greedy money making issue. They don’t want anyone using their music to make any money for themselves. Greed is all it is.

25 Smart Parents August 14, 2013 at 4:48 am

Well, people can use different types of audio and video records including HD recorders for recording TV shows, CD and DVD recorders .. if Google wants to ban YouTube to MP3 converter websites, then the industry should also ban all such equipment people are using to make their own copies of audio or video files.

26 Brenda Smith August 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

copy your you tube url
open realplayer
click real player arrow on left
new browser
paste url in browser
click go
file will appear
hover on right you should see download
click download
start play

when you’re done it will appear in real player library

27 The Papuan August 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

Thats on 2012, nowadays still alive and keep their site update, guess why? because google change their mind about human rights to copy the copyright :)

28 Pissedashell September 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm

What I am upset about, I used to convert MY video’s from Realplayer to any file, not just mp3′s. So I would download my own vids I upload because I didn’t have the files anymore , and now, they give you the idea that you can convert, but as soon as you go through all the motions to do so, then press the big “Convert” button, an add pops up to buy it. I tried this several of times with several of different types of convert files just to see if it was limited.. then when you download realplayer, they advertise that you can convert files, I’M DONE WITH REALPLAYER!!! I don’t care what reason they don’t do it, it’s not about that, THEY ARE LIARS… And where I come from.. a liar is a liar, there’s no excuse for this………..

29 RealPlayer Team September 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

Sorry for the trouble, some files requires Plus feature to convert/trim. Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime :


2: iTunes

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try play/converting the files through RealPlayer.

If that doesn’t help, please send an email to, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

30 musiclover October 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm

can i convert a carrie underwood song to mp3? would that still be illegal?

31 RealPlayer Team October 16, 2013 at 12:16 am

We respect copyright so if the video is protected RealPlayer will not convert it. However, Most of the files from YouTube are not protected with copyrights, so you can download files from YouTube and convert them to .MP3 format.

If you have additional questions, send an email to

32 Linda McFarland October 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I am still confused. It is October 31, 2013. I can not download videos from You Tube or Facebook and I have been doing so for years. Do these sites now longer allow you to download or is there a problem with Real Player? I uninstalled and reinstalled and I still can not download. Please let me know as I have been unable to get a clear answer from anyone that I understand.

33 RealPlayer Team October 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Please send an email to, include a brief description of the issue, copy and paste the link to this thread within the email for further assistance.

34 Ramon November 10, 2013 at 11:14 am its a cood site to convert youtube to mp3

35 Adam January 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I’m not happy about no longer being able to convert my videos to mp3 through realplayer without upgrading to Realplayer plus. Like many people, I’m about to uninstall Realplayer and find some other means of converting my files. Which I really hate because I’ve been using Realplayer for about 4 years now and I like Realplayer. But, now Realplayer is trying to get greedy like all of these other great companies, I’m not gonna pay, I’m just gonna find another way to do what I’m trying to do.

36 RealPlayer Team January 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Sorry for the inconvenience caused!

Some file requires Plus feature to play/convert. Try installing QuickTime/iTunes to enable the necessary codec for RealPlayer to play/convert .mp4 files.

1: QuickTime :
2: iTunes

After installing QuickTime/iTunes, try playing/converting the files through RealPlayer. If the issue still persists, please send an email to

37 Lacie Baskerville May 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Hello there. I have started using your site to download videos and am grateful for this service, however I have a few questions about what I can and cannot upload. You see, my videos are AMVs with copyrighted music and I’ve had to change the audio for Youtube so I am not infringing on anyone’s material they don’t want me to use, something I was upset about in the past, but now I realize copyright is an important thing. So I uploaded some of my videos with music that is (as far as I am aware) by a band that has no label or recording company attached to them and they seem very supportive of people who make AMVS, and a few others with songs by Skillet and Breaking Benjamin. My concern is, will the copyright holders ask me to take them down if they see me using their song that belongs to them? If you say yes, I will remove that content at once.

38 Brinton Felixraja May 29, 2014 at 12:57 am

Sorry for the delay.

Thank you for your question and concern regarding the copyright materials. We cannot speak on behalf of the copyright holder nor can we dispense legal advice. However, you are required to accept our terms of service before you are able to install our software, which we suggest you read carefully before accepting. It includes important information about copyrights.

You can read more about how we deal with copyright infringement on this page:

We hope this helps!

39 Lacie Baskerville May 31, 2014 at 4:25 am

Thank you. I will take the ones down if I receive any complaints from the copyright owners….I just wanted a place to upload them in case anything happens to my computer. :D In the future, I might start uploading videos I take myself of things in my house. I’m sure anything I take pictures of in my house and create myself is perfectly legal. Thank you for notifying me. In the future, I will probably look for royalty-free music that I can use without any worries. Copyright is so complicated….. @.@ I surely mean no disrespect to the artists of these wonderful songs. But if they deem it bad, I will definitely remove them out of respect to them.


40 Brinton Felixraja June 1, 2014 at 4:01 am

We thank you for your taking your time to elucidate about storing the copy-protected files. You can very well upload both recorded and downloaded videos from RealPlayer Cloud. To check the Cloud storage space, follow the appropriate steps:

RealPlayer Cloud: Open RealPlayer Cloud and then click on the name at the top right hand corner of RealPlayer. Select Account Settings to check the available Cloud space.

iPhone: Click the list icon (three horizontal bars) in the top left of the app.

iPad: Click the gear icon in the lower left corner of the app.

You can delete files you no longer want in your Cloud, or tap Get More Space to upgrade to a higher storage level. When you refer your friends, you get additional 1 GB for each referrals.When you share, upload and add a device you get 250 MB additional cloud space.

Get more space by referring your friends:

Cloud storage plans and cost:

41 infringement November 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm

I have some pressing questions about this recording practice…

RealPlayer – Your Digital Media Resource
The easiest way to watch, save and share your videos

I thought you could not share ripped material it was only for personal use. But you’re saying I can share them so who is wrong here?

So I can rip a video with your plugin which was problematic with Fire Fox and then re upload it to my channel and share it the the world.

How do I know if its copyrighted?
When I get google slapped because google owns YouTube.
If that happens will I get a strike against me and then not be able to use YouTube Live because of infringement.

42 Brinton Felixraja November 10, 2014 at 5:24 am

RealPlayer Cloud includes all the functions of RealPlayer 16, as well as allowing you to upload and share videos, play them across your various devices, and watch them on your TV using Chromecast, Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

It’s a cool–and private–way to share your favorite videos with friends and family. In simple, you can share your Phone and other videos with RealPlayer Cloud.

Note: RealPlayer Cloud and previous version respects DRM’s and does not enable you to copy DVD’s and download from the Internet content that is protected by DRM so you can’t download or share protected contents.

All you have to do is install RealPlayer Cloud or use the RealPlayer Cloud web application to upload and share videos. For more information, please visit this link:

Using RealPlayer Cloud app (Phone):

While signed in to the RealPlayer Cloud app, capture a video as you normally would on your device. If you have allowed RealPlayer Cloud access to your Camera Roll, you should immediately see a window pop up asking if you want to upload the video to the Cloud or share it with friends. Simply follow the instructions.

Please let us know, if you have additional questions.

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