Youtube Ripper hits back at RIAA in DMCA “circumvention” lawsuit * TorrentFreak


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YouTube ripping service Yout.com sued the RIAA last year in an attempt to have its platform declared legal in the United States. The music industry group asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that Yout was clearly bypassing technological protection measures. However, Yout retorts that YouTube has no significant restrictions and wants the trial to move forward.

The popular Yout.com feed pulling site has battled legal disputes around the world, with mixed results.

More recently, the site and its operator Johnathan Nader were the subject of criminal proceedings in Brazil, which resulted in the site being blocked.

Yout.com vs. RIAA

Meanwhile, in the United States, Yout is also embroiled in a legal dispute that could potentially overshadow all previous decisions. In a preventative move, Yout sued the music industry organization RIAA, hoping the court will declare the service non-infringing.

The case has been ongoing for over a year. The Connecticut federal court dismissed Yout’s first complaint due to a lack of details. With a modified version, Yout aimed to fill in the blanks, but the RIAA also called for that to be rejected.

At the heart of the dispute is whether Yout’s service violates the DMCA provision which prohibits circumvention of technological protection measures (TPM). The RIAA clearly thinks so, but the YouTube extractor disagrees.

Technological protection measures

Yout doesn’t think YouTube has effective technological safeguards to begin with. In its amended complaint, the service pointed out that anyone can easily download audio and video from YouTube through a regular web browser.

This fact was not contested in the RIAA’s motion to dismiss. However, the music industry group retorted that this download process is not straightforward for the average user. Thus, the configuration of YouTube generally prevents the general public from downloading content off the site.

“[T]TPM only needs to “work” for access protection to be effective. Therefore, YouTube TPMs can effectively protect access to copyrighted works even if they do not involve encryption or scrambling, ”the RIAA wrote, adding that Yout’s attempt to declare the service legal should be rejected.

Yout challenges the RIAA’s motion to dismiss

This week, Yout’s legal team responded to the RIAA’s request for dismissal, denying that it in any way violates the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. It uses the open source youtube-dl software and does not store any downloads on its servers.

“Yout doesn’t decrypt, bypass, or avoid anything to access web content. This is because Yout’s software platform works using a configured version of youtube-dl with ffmpeg which guarantees that no content will be stored on its servers, ”writes Yout’s legal team.

“Yout is simply automating the process, already allowed by YouTube and popular web browsers, of allowing a user to access and download a work from YouTube without bypassing any measures.”

Does YouTube offer secure platform add-ons?

This is essentially a recap of the arguments that have been made in previous documents. The essence of the dispute is whether or not YouTube has technological safeguards. It turns out that this is subject to interpretation.

The RIAA maintains that YouTube has TPMs and Yout disagrees. According to the RIAA, it’s clear that YouTube is copy-protecting downloads. Yout, for his part, points out that there is no TPM since anyone can easily copy content with a few clicks.

“The ordinary user can access the works and accomplish exactly what Yout does,” Yout writes. “In doing so, no TPM is encountered or bypassed. The RIAA fails to identify what it calls a TPM or TPMs. It is because there is none.

Dead end

It is clear that no matter how many documents the two sides submit, the disagreement will persist. The question for the court to answer is whether this case can be considered on the merits or whether Yout’s claims should be dismissed without further action.

The YouTube ripper is hoping the court will allow the case to move forward. In addition to the above, it lists a variety of other arguments and also alleges that the RIAA’s takedown notices defamed the service.

These reviews resulted in a loss of paying subscribers, according to Yout, and may also be the reason PayPal discontinued service.

“By issuing its opinions and causing said delisting, the RIAA has led others to believe that Yout is engaging and continues to engage in illegal and unlawful behavior, even though Yout’s actions are neither illegal nor illegal.

“In effect, PayPal closed Yout’s account – possibly due to RIAA notices – causing Yout to further significant monetary and reputational damage,” Yout adds.

It is now up to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to decide whether this case can advance or be dismissed. This decision should follow in the coming weeks.

A copy of Yout’s response to the RIAA’s request to dismiss the amended complaint is available here (pdf)


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