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Ok so let me provide a little background on the topic, I've build an app that mimics the Youtube app, except upon selecting a video it connects to one of the various youtube to mp3 sites, and stream the audio it provide based on the video id.

I must note that the app does use the Youtube api, but only for fetching video/playlist details.

I tried to publish the app on Google play store, and was rejected with the following reason, which they pulled straight from their tos:

We have determined that your app enables background playing of YouTube videos, which is a violation of the YouTube API Terms of Service:

"Your API Client will not, and You will not encourage or create functionality for Your users or other third parties to: (8) separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API".

I tried to explain to them how the app works but they provided generic responses and eventually cut the communication on the subject.

My question is, why was the app ilegal? As the site which the app connects to fetch the audio works without my implementation (it has it's own UI), and I have no ownership/control on the site.

It could even theoretically provide random audio files for every video, would that still be count violation of the tos?

I know that Google has every interest to not allow these kind of apps on their store, as it hurt Youtube revenue, I just wanted to know if the statement they provided was enough to reject my app.

  • Where did they say it was illegal? In the part you quote, they simply say that it violates the TOS. Is that what you mean by "illegal"? – user6726 Oct 27 '16 at 19:59
  • Yeah, that what I meant. So let me repurpose the question, why does the app considered a violation of Youtube's TOS? – Nadav96 Oct 27 '16 at 20:04
  • Illegal =/= against TOU as determined by them. They decided it was against their terms of use. Asking us is only ever going to get speculation, asking them you've already tried. Accept that Google won't allow you to use their material for your profit. – Nij Oct 27 '16 at 21:49
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Short Answer

It's Google's store, they can ban anyone or anything from it for any or no reason except if the reason is on the basis of protected discrimination (race, gender etc.) similarly, you can ban the CEO of Google from coming round to your place, sitting on your couch, watching your TV and drinking your beer.

Long Answer

Google think you are violating YouTube's terms of service by using their API to access YouTube audio separately from the video. Personally, I think they are right.

It doesn't matter that the Audi goes via a third party site, its origin was YouTube and you used their API to find it. If you don't comply with their terms then you don't have a licence to use their copyright material. If you don't have a licence and use it anyway, you are breaking the law.

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So there are two things I'd like to address:

  1. They didn't say it's illegal. They said it violates their rules, which they have created for their own purposes. If it were illegal, they wouldn't be rejecting your app, but rather having the police put you in handcuffs or suing you.

  2. If your use of the API allows the playback of things that are restricted in certain countries, that could violate copyright law, which actually would be illegal.

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