Yout’s attempt to legitimize Stream-Ripping is a “pun” * TorrentFreak

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YouTube retrieval service is suing the RIAA in an attempt to have its platform declared legal in the United States. The case comes down to whether YouTube has significant technical safeguards and whether Yout is circumventing them. According to the RIAA, there is no doubt that is wrong and it calls any assertion to the contrary a “pun.”

Downloading audio and video is prohibited by YouTube’s terms of service, but there are many stream pulling sites available on the web that do just that.

These services are a thorn in the side of companies in the music industry, which see them as a major piracy threat. The operators and users of the feed extraction tools disagree and point out that there are legal uses as well.

At the end of 2020, the operator of one of the biggest rippers took matters into their own hands. Instead of hiding in the shadows like some competitors, owner Johnathan Nader sued the RIAA, asking the Connecticut federal court to declare the service non-infringing.

The case has been ongoing for over a year now, and has filed two amended complaints, which correct previous shortcomings and sharpen the legal arguments. At the heart of the dispute is whether Yout’s service violates the DMCA provision which prohibits circumvention of technological protection measures (TPM). maintains that YouTube does not have significant technical safeguards, so there is nothing to get around. With just a few steps, anyone can download audio and video files from the site without additional tools. This argument was reiterated last month when Yout responded to the RIAA’s request to dismiss the case.

The RIAA responds to the “no TPM” claim

The RIAA sees it very differently as it pointed out in a response filed in court a few days ago. The music group points out that Yout is repeating many of the points he made earlier, which the RIAA calls “a play on words.”

“[Yout]The RIAA’s opposition to the RIAA’s motion to dismiss repeats many of the same unsuccessful arguments the claimant made in the previous briefing session and again uses puns to fabricate a contested question of fact “Writes the RIAA.

The music group specifically cites the DMCA which points out that a technological measure is considered a TPM if it, “in the normal course of its operation” requires a process or treatment to access a video or sound protected by the copyright.

Yout’s defense noted that people can take a series of steps to acquire a “number sequence” in “request URL” and then download the audio video from YouTube on their own. A valid point, but the RIAA notes that this in fact confirms that there are protective measures in place.

“[T]the pipe claims actually prove that there is a TPM (rolling cipher or some other name), ”writes RIAA.

“In the normal course, a YouTube user does not get or interact with a signature value or request URL, nor reach a download button, ever. In normal times, the user only sees the stream a music video.

No encryption needed

The RIAA points out that while Yout disputes the terminology of “progressive encryption,” the service still helps circumvent copyright protections. It doesn’t matter whether people can bypass them themselves through a web browser as well.

The second part of the argument is that Yout bypasses these TPMs. The stream-ripper argued that he was simply using the publicly available code from the YouTube website without disabling or undoing anything. However, the RIAA sees it in a different light.

In fact, the band is using Yout’s own words to claim that he is actually circumventing protective measures.

“The applicant pleads that he interacts with these TPMs by” modif[ying]’the numeric sequence’ range = ‘. For the Yout service to provide its users with an “automated” way to bypass or bypass TPMs to access the file, including by changing a sequence of digits in YouTube’s source code, is a manual bypass.

The Court will decide

The above clearly shows that both parties agree on most of the facts, but not on how they should be interpreted. Now it is up to the court to decide which party has the best arguments. Needless to say, this decision is critical to the future of Yout and many other stream mining services.

In his complaint, Yout also argued that the RIAA’s takedown notices defamed the service, resulting in lost revenue. This might come into play later, but only if Yout’s activities don’t violate the DMCA.

A copy of the RIAA’s response in support of its motion to dismiss Yout’s second amended complaint is available here (pdf)

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