YouTube sends Groovy Bot Discord music app DMCA takedown notice

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,166   +872
Staff member
In context: Google has pulled the plug on Discord music bot Groovy Bot. Groovy Bot channels music onto Discord servers from sources including YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, and others. It allows Discord users to listen to the same music at the same time.

Google has pulled the plug on Discord music app Groovy Bot. Groovy Bot channels music onto Discord servers from sources including YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, and others. It allows Discord users to listen to the same music at the same time.

The Groovy Bot app has become fairly popular, having been installed on more the 16 million Discord servers with an estimated 250 million users. Of course, it's likely its widespread use prompted Google-owned YouTube to issue a cease and desist letter.

Nik Ammerlaan, the creator and owner of Groovy Bot, notified users this month that he was shutting down the service on August 30. In his announcement, Ammerlaan did not mention being forced to scuttle the bot. It sounded more like he had grown tired of maintaining the app.

"It's with a heavy heart today that I announce Groovy is shutting down," the notice reads. "The team has been mulling over this decision for a while now, and, unfortunately, there's no path forward that includes Groovy."

However, in an interview with The Verge, Ammerlaan said that YouTube did send him a C&D letter but was unsure why it didn't come sooner. The app has been around for five years.

"I'm not sure why they decided to send [a cease and desist] now," Ammerlaan told The Verge. "They probably just didn't know about it, to be honest. [I knew it would come.] It was just a matter of seeing when it would happen."

Google confirmed it sent out the legal request claiming that Ammerlaan misused its APIs and violated its terms of service.

"We notified Groovy about violations of our Terms of Service, including modifying the service and using it for commercial purposes," a YouTube spokesperson said.

It is unclear why Groovy was singled out, though. Groovy Bot is not the only music app on Discord that streams tunes from YouTube. A similar bot called Rythm is even more widely used than Groovy. Rythm resides on 20 million Discord servers with more than 560 million listeners, yet it has not received a takedown notice.

Discord officially stands by the legal warning, telling The Verge, "We take the rights of others seriously and require developers who create bots for Discord to do the same. If a bot running on Discord violates someone else's rights, that third party or Discord may take action."

Image credit: Screenshot by The Verge

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Dimitriid

Posts: 1,149   +2,184
Discord functions much like IRC used to back in the day. And much like that, banning a single bot is about as useless as it can be: literally anyone can create a new one with very little scripting knowledge and if a server is the issue you can just run on one of the machines anyone on the listening party or just put it on a server that would (rightfully) tell youtube to stuff it.

In fact, you can probably code something that users basically listens for a prompt and launches youtube on your local device, that way they would have no legal objection: each of the "synched" users is opening it's own instance of the same song and henceforth getting served whatever adds they deem necessary. The thing is that it doesn't really needs to be like down-to-the-millisecond synced for most people to enjoy listening together even a couple of seconds off still works sufficiently well for what it is doing which is mostly mood/background stuff and such.

But of course youtube wouldn't be youtube if it didn't do every decision without consulting anybody, one sided and in the worst possible way that gets the most people angry at them, they seem to enjoy it.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,166   +872
Staff member
Discord functions much like IRC used to back in the day. And much like that, banning a single bot is about as useless as it can be: literally anyone can create a new one with very little scripting knowledge and if a server is the issue you can just run on one of the machines anyone on the listening party or just put it on a server that would (rightfully) tell youtube to stuff it.

In fact, you can probably code something that users basically listens for a prompt and launches youtube on your local device, that way they would have no legal objection: each of the "synched" users is opening it's own instance of the same song and henceforth getting served whatever adds they deem necessary. The thing is that it doesn't really needs to be like down-to-the-millisecond synced for most people to enjoy listening together even a couple of seconds off still works sufficiently well for what it is doing which is mostly mood/background stuff and such.

But of course youtube wouldn't be youtube if it didn't do every decision without consulting anybody, one sided and in the worst possible way that gets the most people angry at them, they seem to enjoy it.
Well, we have all known from day one that the DMCA was wide open for abuses and this is just one of many we have seen over the years. YouTube and rights holders want to treat platforms like Discord and the like as if they are radio stations, and they have been getting away with it. But the fact is, these platforms are not like radio stations at all.

A Discord channel is more analogous to the channel owner's living room. I can invite my friends to my house and put YouTube on the sound system and we can all enjoy the music together and socialize. Apps like Groovy and Rythm are just like your sound system. The difference being that all the listening occurs online. If the record companies could figure out a way to break into your house and sue you for playing music with your friends, they would.