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Is it Legal to Download Music from YouTube?

Last updated: 2016/12/26 | Eva C Levy

As the biggest video website in the world, YouTube owns millions of videos in which you can listen to any music videos you like on it. However, with the development of electronic products, more and more people tend to listen to music on computers or mobile phones rather than watch online music videos. Under such circumstance, video to mp3 converters come into being, such as YouTube, Clip Converter,, etc. (See also: Top 5 Free YouTube to MP3 Sites 2017) Users can directly convert video to mp3 and listen to music on their devices. At the same time, some new problems appear such as:

As is known to all that YouTube belongs to Google. If users download the music and listen to it offline, Google will miss some potential money-making opportunities. So here comes the question: is it legal or illegal to download music from YouTube?

This is a tough question, it depends on many aspects, especially the video itself and the way you use it. On the one hand, if we cannot download music from YouTube directly, it is illegal for users to gain music by means of other additional programs. On the other hand, there are different laws and regulations between different countries. Meanwhile, what users do with it is also a key factor on whether it legal or not.

01. It is illegal to convert YouTube videos to mp3 in Google’s view.

YouTube provides all kinds of videos free for users online, and a great portion of its revenue is from advertising. Fairly, YouTube doesn’t want users to shun its advertising through third-party downloader of converter. In this situation, users are only permitted to watch videos online through YouTube websites and apps. So users are not able to enjoy any YouTube videos offline on iPad, iPhone or Andriod devices. On the other hand, it is legal for the copyright owner to do anything with it. If some users have the right to all the YouTube videos, they are absolutely permitted to download or convert YouTube videos to mp3. In contrast, it is illegal to do so without the right or the owner’s permission.

02. It is legal in some countries while it is illegal in other countries.

Laws and regulations differ from countries. You can have a look at the laws and regulations related to this aspect in your own country. Just take some countries as examples:

In Canada, Copyright Modernization Act has been passed; this act supports users in downloading music from YouTube. In other words, it declares that users are allowed to copy or download music from YouTube for personal or non-commercial use solely as intended. That’s to say, if you download music just for your personal appreciation, with no intention to broadcast or sell it, you have the right to do so causally. Whatever, even if it is forbidden to download YouTube videos for personal use, it is the behavior of “broadcast” that is indeed be forbidden.

In German, it is legal to download videos from YouTube according to the federal law. The reason is that it doesn’t breach the copyright as a third-party to provide such service. (See also: How to Download YouTube Videos?)

Therefore, whether users can download music from YouTube to MP3 depends on the countries they settle in. But whatever the law says, it is legal for users to download music without the purpose to broadcasting.

03. It is what users do with the music video that makes it legal or illegal.

A video converter can help you to change video file formats to meet your needs. For example, you may want to share a video shot by your camera with your friends, but there’s a good chance that their devices don’t support the video format. So you’d better convert the video format to something more universal, such as AVI. As you can see, video converter is a really practical tool, and you can’t simply define it as legal or illegal. Therefore, you can use a YouTube converter legally in following ways.

aDownload or rip your own videos to audio.

bDownload or rip a public domain video to audio.

cDownload or gain the music from YouTube for non-commercial use.

dDownload or convert a video to audio for the purpose of.

Generally speaking, as long as you don’t break YouTube’s rule of copyright, it can be legal for some certain uses. Bear in mind that copy, broadcast or sell anything you get from YouTube as your own intellectual property is definitely illegal. YouTube is not in the business of earning nothing, the more people convert music video to MP3 by third party, the less money YouTube will make. Everything we do with YouTube must abbey to its law; we have to get the permission of the copyright owner.


The problem is not converting YouTube videos to MP3, but what and how you do with the videos that determines whether it’s illegal or not. The video converter is legal as a practical tool while the purpose you use it may lead to illegality. Anyway, broadcasting the video or music you downloaded from YouTube on other platforms is surely breaking the copyright law. We should use the music we downloaded from YouTube in a rational way; within the “rational” range, it is legal to obtain music from YouTube.

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