Google Removes YouTube Rippers From UK Search Results *TorrentFreak

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Google has removed several popular YouTube rippers from its UK search results. The company took the action following a notice from local music group BPI, which pointed out that local ISPs are required to block sites due to a High Court order. In response, Google voluntarily took the same action.

Last year the UK music industry scored a major victory in its fight against online piracy.

Following a two-year process initiated by British Recorded Music Industry Ltd (BPI) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), the High Court ordered major ISPs to block access to several YouTube rippers.

The command aims to make these sites, including Flvto and 2Conv, harder to reach. Many workarounds exist, but rightsholders have been particularly frustrated with search engines such as Google that include domains in their results.

Following the blocking order, the BPI asked Google to remove thousands of YouTube ripping links, but that’s a mole game; targeted sites are actively fighting delisting by moving to new URLs.

Google removes YouTube rippers

A few days ago, BPI and PPL broke this deadlock. The groups sent a copy of the UK High Court’s order to Google, ask removal of listed domains. Although Google is not legally bound to comply, it has done so voluntarily, but only in the UK.

Application for BPI & PPL


This is not the first time the search engine has taken action based on a court order targeting a third party. Google has done the same in several other countries, including Australia, Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

The BPI had previously called for similar deletions in the UK. These included a wide variety of sites, including The Pirate Bay, but YouTube rippers were only mentioned last week.


De-indexing search results will make these YouTube rippers harder to find, but the whack-a-mole game is far from over as hundreds of other stream-rippers remain readily available.

Legal uses?

Finally, it should be noted that while the music industry views YouTube rippers as piracy tools, others view them as neutral services.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), for example, wrote an amicus curiae brief in support of Flvto and 2Conv when they were sued for copyright infringement in the United States.

“Like a web browser, copier, or video recorder, the converters at issue in this case are neutral technologies, equally capable of lawful and unlawful uses. And legal uses abound, from saving a copy of the video personal information from a family member to uploading clips of a TV show as raw material for critical commentary,” EFF wrote.

Those comments didn’t help the YouTube rippers in question, as they ultimately lost their legal battle with the RIAA earlier this year.

The new normal

Google’s voluntary domain deletions are notable because the company has openly warned against such actions in the past. In 2015, he told the US government that taking down entire sites would hamper free speech and be counterproductive.

“Deleting the entire site would simply result in hacking to new domains, legitimate sites and social networks,” the company said at the time.

The search engine’s position has clearly changed since its previous criticism, at least when there is a third-party court order involved. In a recent presentation to Japanese rights holders, Google confirmed that it would “generally” remove domains based on third-party injunctions.

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