Google To Shut Down YouTube Ripping Sites

    It’s been a suprisingly busy week for the debate on illegal music downloads. First, NPR’s All Songs Considered intern Emily White pissed off a lot of people who have never heard of Napster by admitting that her prodigious music iTunes library was mostly stolen; then David Lowery, a musician himself who lectures on this topic at the University of Georgia, took the opportunity to spin his years of personal and academic experience into a gentle, paced letter making White the poster child for this decade-and-a-half-old debate. Now Billboard is reporting that Google is moving to block out sites that convert YouTube videos into mp3s. YouTube, which is owned by Google, hosts music videos and songs from innumerable major and independent artists. Many web services exist explicitly to rip the audio from these sites into personal mp3s, and Google now seems to considering putting an end to them. There is no word on whether this move is releated to the suddenly revitalized debate on illegal music downloading.