Gadgets for humans

The SLUG makes ripping Internet audio (and breaking the law) incredibly easy


I’m as guilty as the next person of hearing something on YouTube and then wishing that there was an easy way to download just the audio so that I could use it later. Yes, there are options out there that can give you the MP3, but they’re sketchy at best. There’s also the fact that there are sounds all over the Internet that you might want to keep for use later, but doing so is incredibly difficult without a desk full of equipment.

A couple of Northern California entrepreneurs feel your pain, and they’ve invented The SLUG – a device that plugs into your computer’s audio ports and then allows you to record audio from anywhere on the Internet. Just plug it in, then whatever sound comes out from your headphones will be automatically played into your microphone/input jack. There’s even another jack on the other side of the device to allow you to plug in your phone or other audio source.

Now here’s the rub – actually using The SLUG in the manner in which they’ve depicted is probably illegal. Facing facts, people will be using this to rip tracks from Spotify, download audio from YouTube or to save things that they shouldn’t otherwise have been saving, breaking copyright rules in the process.

Oh, right, and there’s also the fact that you could essentially do this exact same thing with a $4 cable that you can buy from any electronics shop. It just wouldn’t look as pretty, it wouldn’t include the audio software and there wouldn’t be a volume control.

So you have to ask yourself whether or not you feel right using The SLUG. If you do, you can back the campaign on Kickstarter, where it has 32 more days to reach its $10,000 goal. After all, you could use this for legitimate, legal functions too, right?


Yeah, probably not.

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Published November 21, 2011 — 23:26 UTC