So, Sony BMG doesn't want you to embed that AC/DC concert footage in your blog or grab the audio from that footage as an MP3? They'd probably have a fit if if you stored that footage as an MP4 on your computer and distributed it wherever you liked or - worse yet - remixed it to your heart's content.
Thanks to Tooble.tv, a fascinating tool that plays footsie with all kinds of copyright law, you can do all of the above and more. Only high school students would have the audacity (or sheer naivete) to pull off a stunt like this.
That's right: Tooble was developed by five high school students in Wallingford, Connecticut. We applaud their ingenuity and hope for their continued success, but we are rightfully concerned about the potential uses and the future of this product.
Tooble runs as a desktop app. It makes downloading online video and converting it to MP4 files as simple as cutting and pasting a URL. The app also allows for conversion of audio tracks in the videos to stand-alone MP3s. The free version of the software runs on Mac and Windows and allows for YouTube downloads; the Pro version, priced for impulse purchases at around $6, works for a multitude of video-hosting sites.
Users can search for videos or browse through the prescribed YouTube categories in the free version of the software.
To test the app, we downloaded an embedding-disabled video of Johnny Cash's The Wall, a song that details a prison experience we hope the creators and users of Tooble won't have to replicate. Grabbing the MP4 took about a minute. We were able to open the file in our video editor and play around with it a bit. After our remixing was done, we were moreover able to upload our creation to Vimeo:
We're hard pressed to think of more than a handful of legal use cases for this software. Much like P2P or BitTorrent software, this app creates a maelstrom of legal and moral questions. And calling to mind the sufferings of the Pirate Bay team and Napster, we wonder what's in store for the kids who created Tooble.
What do you think? As much fun as it is to grab others' videos, do you think users have a legal right to be able to store, remix, and redistribute online video and audio content created by others? Is Tooble.tv essentially software that encourages and enables illegal behavior? Let us know in the comments.