Github restores youtube-dl

Originally published at:


I used youtube-dl a few days ago to download an hour-long video of waves on a Scottish beach for mom. SSH to a Pi, start the download, when it’s done, copy to a stick for the TV.

Fuck you RIAA!


They need to publish the source in book form, like what was done when PGP was in the government crosshairs.


How about a tattoo?


Technically some licensing terms need to be met if it’s not some CC type license. From the video description:

Most of these clips can be licensed as stock footage through Pond5 or directly through me.…

For personal use it might have been OK to do what you did, it depends on the owner’s particular agreement. It is difficult to use youtube-dl in a way that doesn’t violate some agreement with either the content owner or with YouTube.

Is what you did less of a crime than downloading episodes of your favorite TV show or movie? I’m not sure legally there is much difference.

It’s interesting to me that this decision apparently represents the position not just of Github, but its owner, Microsoft, as well.

1 Like

Ah well, if it was a problem, I could have switched the TV to the Pi directly connected, launched the browser and played the video on YouTube. There would be delay problems as it was playing, and I’d have to use a tiny wireless keyboard rather than the TV remote, but yeah.


The source code tarballs remained downloadable from their own home page, no problem building newer packages from those so far.


For personal use it might have been OK to do what you did, it depends on the owner’s particular agreement. -@OrangeTide

I think you’re fine Rick… this very scenario (being able to view it on the device of your choice) should be protected under fair use.

In Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. [the Betamax case alluded to in the article above] copying entire television programs for private viewing was upheld as fair use, at least when the copying is done for the purposes of time-shifting.

That said, I am not a lawyer, and copyright and license laws are not my forte… so YMMV.

1 Like

And you’re not a Canadian lawyer either. :wink:


Hah, fair enough! You’ve got an interesting history up there! (PDF link)

But it looks like you’re covered under the adoption of fair dealing provisions to the Copyright Act in 2011:

Section 29.23 allows an individual to make a fixation of a communication signal or reproduce a work, sound recording or performance being broadcast for the purpose of privately viewing the work at a later time, provided that the signal is received legally, only one recording is made, it is used for private purposes, and is not given away. For example, an individual would record a show on his or her PVR to watch at a later time. This exception does not apply to works or sound recordings accessed through an on-demand service, or to works protected by digital locks. [sounds like the digital locks provision is your DMCA].

Edit: Whups! The paragraph came from a Canadian university detailing what was allowed under the act, but the link is to the act itself. I’ve lost the university link to the sands of browser history.


I’m lazy so all I care about is whether it’s available via pip

We know developers want to understand what happened here, and want to know how GitHub will stand up for developers and refine our processes on these issues.

Then why did they initially not stand up for developers, and seemed to capitulate only because there was a backlash?

YTDL code updates pretty often as the various video streamers change how they do things

They’d need a new book every few weeks


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.