83 votes

youtube-dl's GitHub repository has become inaccessible due to a DMCA takedown from RIAA

42 comments

  1. [9]
    andre
    Link
    This is such an egregious overreach on RIAA's part that it makes me want to cancel my Spotify subscription and start pirating music again to prevent them getting a dime from me. What's next, DMCA...

    This is such an egregious overreach on RIAA's part that it makes me want to cancel my Spotify subscription and start pirating music again to prevent them getting a dime from me. What's next, DMCA Firefox because I can use it to download MP3s? Go fuck yourselves.

    41 votes
    1. [8]
      hungariantoast
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You absolutely should do that by the way. Spotify is apparently a bad way to support artists, so please, do pirate music, own your files, and then buy files directly from artists you specifically...

      start pirating music again

      You absolutely should do that by the way. Spotify is apparently a bad way to support artists, so please, do pirate music, own your files, and then buy files directly from artists you specifically want to support.

      26 votes
      1. tempestoftruth
        Link Parent
        Echoing that, I stopped using Spotify due to privacy concerns a year or two ago (their unwillingness to support artists is egregious too, and yet another reason to switch), and I've since...

        Echoing that, I stopped using Spotify due to privacy concerns a year or two ago (their unwillingness to support artists is egregious too, and yet another reason to switch), and I've since purchased several albums from my favorite artists on Bandcamp, which I never would have done if I hadn't deleted Spotify.

        9 votes
      2. [4]
        andre
        Link Parent
        I long for the days of what.cd's music similarity charts.

        I long for the days of what.cd's music similarity charts.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          I don’t spend much time on the successor, redacted. Does it not have something similar?

          I don’t spend much time on the successor, redacted. Does it not have something similar?

          3 votes
          1. andre
            Link Parent
            The fall of what.cd coincided with the rise of Spotify for me, so I never went out of my way looking for an invite to redacted - couldn't tell ya.

            The fall of what.cd coincided with the rise of Spotify for me, so I never went out of my way looking for an invite to redacted - couldn't tell ya.

        2. treed
          Link Parent
          I miss what.cd so much. Losing it was like burning the digital music library of Alexandria.

          I miss what.cd so much. Losing it was like burning the digital music library of Alexandria.

          3 votes
      3. weystrom
        Link Parent
        bandcamp is the place to support the artists

        bandcamp is the place to support the artists

        7 votes
      4. Staross
        Link Parent
        I usually go bandcamp, then soulseek if it's not available (or I don't care much about the artist).

        I usually go bandcamp, then soulseek if it's not available (or I don't care much about the artist).

        4 votes
  2. [2]
    stu2b50
    Link
    I see some people complaining about Github, but I mean, DMCAs are stupid, but as a US entity, you can't just not follow it. Even if you self hosted the repo, you would still have to take it down....

    I see some people complaining about Github, but I mean, DMCAs are stupid, but as a US entity, you can't just not follow it. Even if you self hosted the repo, you would still have to take it down. You face federal criminal charges for not complying.

    According to this redditor, they are being litigated against for just contributing to the repo years ago

    i.e DMCA takedowns are scary af, and you are heavily incentivized to not "fight the good fight".

    31 votes
    1. petrichor
      Link Parent
      Yikes, well, that certainly answers my question about whether or not the maintainers were being pursued, too.

      Yikes, well, that certainly answers my question about whether or not the maintainers were being pursued, too.

      5 votes
  3. [4]
    dredmorbius
    (edited )
    Link
    The notice, in part: https://github.com/github/dmca/blob/master/2020/10/2020-10-23-RIAA.md Various coverage, discussion, and related topics Micah F. Lee (EFF/The Intercept...

    The notice, in part:

    ... The clear purpose of this source code is to (i) circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube, and (ii) reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use. We note that the source code is described on GitHub as “a command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites.” ...

    https://github.com/github/dmca/blob/master/2020/10/2020-10-23-RIAA.md

    Various coverage, discussion, and related topics

    Micah F. Lee (EFF/The Intercept @micahflee@mastodon.social https://nitter.net/micahflee/status/1319746131723628544?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

    "RIAA blitz takes down 18 GitHub projects used for downloading YouTube videos"
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/riaa-blitz-takes-down-18-github-projects-used-for-downloading-youtube-videos/

    HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24872911

    Reddit: https://old.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/jgub36/youtubedl_just_received_a_dmca_takedown_from_riaa/
    https://old.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/jgtzum/youtubedl_repo_had_been_dmcad/
    https://old.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/jgubfx/youtubedl_github_repo_taken_down_due_to_dmca/
    https://old.reddit.com/r/youtubedl/comments/jgttnc/youtubedl_github_repository_disabled_due_to_a/

    Reddit search: https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/search/?q=youtube-dl+dmca&sort=relevance&t=all

    Nitter/Birbsite: https://nitter.net/search?f=tweets&q=youtube-dl+riaa+dmca&since=&until=&near=

    Censorship, propaganda, surveillance, and targeted manipulation are inherent characteristics of monopoly: https://joindiaspora.com/posts/7bfcf170eefc013863fa002590d8e506

    RMS, "The Right to Read" (1997): https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.en.html

    Remember that the RIAA is a strong-arm and bad-publicity-deflection cartel of its major members. These are:

    • Sony / Sony Music
    • Universal Music
    • Atlantic Records
    • Disney
    • Exceleration Music
    • Interscope Geffen A&M
    • Nonesuch Records
    • Partisan Records
    • Provident Music
    • Sire Records
    • Tommy Boy
    • Warner Music
    16 votes
    1. dredmorbius
      Link Parent
      The more I look at the RIAA's complaint, the stranger it seems. I'm not even sure that the RIAA has standing to sue or could demonstrate injury: The claimed anti-circ method is not the RIAA's, it...

      The more I look at the RIAA's complaint, the stranger it seems.

      I'm not even sure that the RIAA has standing to sue or could demonstrate injury:

      • The claimed anti-circ method is not the RIAA's, it is Google's (via YouTube).
      • As a user agent, youtube-dl is simple an alternate Web access method which runs code from the YouTube website as a necessary part of the process of accessing and playing content ... meant to be accessed and downloaded.
      • Youtube-dl has substantial non-infringing use. 17 USC 1201(a)(2)(B) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1201

      See 17 USC 1203: Civil remedies: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1203

      19 votes
    2. [2]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      There are no technological protection measures in YouTube.

      circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube

      There are no technological protection measures in YouTube.

      2 votes
      1. Crespyl
        Link Parent
        There is some content that is restricted behind a paywall (YouTube Red or Premium or whatever they're calling it, though I have no idea if youtube-dl works with those videos), plus the fact that...

        There is some content that is restricted behind a paywall (YouTube Red or Premium or whatever they're calling it, though I have no idea if youtube-dl works with those videos), plus the fact that it doesn't directly offer a "Download Video" button (which is otherwise a built-in feature available by default on most browsers), so that's probably their argument.

  4. [3]
    onyxleopard
    Link
    How is it that any of the claims being levied against youtube-dl are not also levied against YouTube itself or any other software that uses YouTube’s APIs? Is there a legal distinction here, or is...

    How is it that any of the claims being levied against youtube-dl are not also levied against YouTube itself or any other software that uses YouTube’s APIs? Is there a legal distinction here, or is this just the RIAA being scummy and picking and choosing whom to go after?

    12 votes
    1. admicos
      Link Parent
      IIRC YouTube has deals with all the major music people. They upload their music to YouTube, and YouTube runs Content ID. They probably haven't bothered yet.

      How is it that any of the claims being levied against youtube-dl are not also levied against YouTube

      IIRC YouTube has deals with all the major music people. They upload their music to YouTube, and YouTube runs Content ID.

      ...or any other software that uses YouTube’s APIs?

      They probably haven't bothered yet.

      7 votes
    2. skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      YouTube has been sued quite a bit over copyright infringement. There was that time when Viacom sued them for a billion dollars. But they built a platform for detecting and monetizing copyright...

      YouTube has been sued quite a bit over copyright infringement. There was that time when Viacom sued them for a billion dollars. But they built a platform for detecting and monetizing copyright infringement and that mostly got the industry off their backs.

      One way to look at it is that Google has managed to use YouTube to create a messy compromise that both sides are sort of unhappy with, but they go along with it, and youtube-dl attempts to upset the applecart. (Or would if it were popular enough.)

      I'd put Spotify in a similar "messy compromise" category. They don't pay artists nearly enough (according to most artists) but they do enough to keep it a legal and reasonably popular alternative to piracy.

      There is money to be made with messy compromises, but to do it, a company needs to be big enough that lawsuits can't wipe them out.

      7 votes
  5. tomf
    Link
    I love youtube-dl and use it a few times per week --- mainly for making quick videos or reuploading crap from reddit so I can send it to family members without them having to see reddit. DMCA is,...

    I love youtube-dl and use it a few times per week --- mainly for making quick videos or reuploading crap from reddit so I can send it to family members without them having to see reddit.

    DMCA is, and always has been, too aggressive.

    12 votes
  6. Greg
    Link
    Do we think the RIAA actually believes this will have any positive impact on their interests, or is this a case of some bored managers & lawyers who need to present some "achievements" by the end...

    Do we think the RIAA actually believes this will have any positive impact on their interests, or is this a case of some bored managers & lawyers who need to present some "achievements" by the end of the year?

    I'm being quite serious: how many people were using a command line YouTube downloader in place of paying for music? I'm sure there were some, but even in the hypothetical world where these lawsuits actually change people's behaviour I can't honestly believe it's enough to justify the time to write the cease & desists.

    11 votes
  7. suspended
    Link
    Looks like there's still a couple of ways to access the files: here and here.

    Looks like there's still a couple of ways to access the files: here and here.

    10 votes
  8. [11]
    acdw
    Link
    There's also a repo here: https://code.hackerspace.pl/q3k/youtube-dl

    There's also a repo here: https://code.hackerspace.pl/q3k/youtube-dl

    7 votes
    1. [10]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      The RIAA is going to lose a game of whack-a-mole. There's just no way that they will be able to stop the further development of youtube-dl.

      The RIAA is going to lose a game of whack-a-mole. There's just no way that they will be able to stop the further development of youtube-dl.

      11 votes
      1. [9]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        Yep, that's the thing about open source and especially a distributed protocol like git. Also why I'm sharing this link.

        Yep, that's the thing about open source and especially a distributed protocol like git. Also why I'm sharing this link.

        3 votes
        1. [8]
          mrnd
          Link Parent
          Problem is, youtube-dl needs constant maintenance to keep it working with Youtube updates. And it is going to be very hard to organize development when RIAA can DMCA any provider where they move...

          Problem is, youtube-dl needs constant maintenance to keep it working with Youtube updates. And it is going to be very hard to organize development when RIAA can DMCA any provider where they move their development to.

          3 votes
          1. [6]
            hungariantoast
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            They've probably lost access to the issues and pull requests stored on GitHub, but Git works just fine using email. There does not need to be a central repository, let alone a web-based forge, for...

            They've probably lost access to the issues and pull requests stored on GitHub, but Git works just fine using email. There does not need to be a central repository, let alone a web-based forge, for development to continue (so no provider), and email and mailing lists can provide good enough alternatives to issues and pull requests that I'm sure the developers could survive in the meantime.

            The real trick though, is how to continue distributing the source code so that as the developers keep working on the program, we can actually get those updates.

            To be honest, if I was one of the developers of youtube-dl, I'd be spinning up fake email addresses and working on a "fork" of the program with a "completely new team" until this all blows over.

            1 vote
            1. [5]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              Eh, I would wait 2-3 weeks after filing the counter-claim and see how the winds are blowing. The DMCA filing is kinda incredibly stupid, so there's a decent chance it goes well. Otherwise,...

              To be honest, if I was one of the developers of youtube-dl, I'd be spinning up fake email addresses and working on a "fork" of the program with a "completely new team" until this all blows over.

              Eh, I would wait 2-3 weeks after filing the counter-claim and see how the winds are blowing. The DMCA filing is kinda incredibly stupid, so there's a decent chance it goes well.

              Otherwise, youtube-dl is cool and all... but there are other people who can work it. It's not worth being fined for more money than you'll earn in your lifetime, or going to jail.

              I can't help but think of the late Aaron Swartz. Just because laws are dumb... doesn't mean they won't affect you. It's not worth it.

              6 votes
              1. [4]
                hungariantoast
                Link Parent
                I'm actually really disappointed and frustrated with all the talk I've been seeing about how sharp DMCA's fangs are and how the developers should basically just give up. Fuck. That. Passivity and...

                I'm actually really disappointed and frustrated with all the talk I've been seeing about how sharp DMCA's fangs are and how the developers should basically just give up.

                Fuck. That.

                Passivity and submission in the face of these laws does nothing to help change or repeal them. Yes, the consequences of not complying with DMCA read as terrifying and punitive and may give off "resistance is futile" vibes, but that's the point.

                No, in this situation the developers are uniquely suited to be able to continue to organize and work on the project in a decentralized manner that has very little risk for further consequences. They should do that.

                /rant

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  stu2b50
                  Link Parent
                  Exactly, which is why the original maintainers should do absolutely nothing. They're the people whose computers, phones, and ISPs can be subpoena'd by the court. Why should they do any development...

                  No, in this situation the developers are uniquely suited to be able to continue to organize and work on the project in a decentralized manner that has very little risk for further consequences.

                  Exactly, which is why the original maintainers should do absolutely nothing. They're the people whose computers, phones, and ISPs can be subpoena'd by the court. Why should they do any development when there's no lack of other people who can protect themselves and develop it? Either by actually living in a country that either isn't in WIPO or just doesn't care, or by pretending to be in one.

                  Everyone implicated in the DMCA is uniquely vulnerable because they are known.

                  Also, the counter-claim submission, if they did one, needs to be responded to in like 10 days, I can't see how waiting a week or so matters at all for the development of youtube-dl.

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    hungariantoast
                    Link Parent
                    First, let me be clear, the current developers of youtube-dl could trivially continue to work on the program in an organized way anonymously. Git allows this, VPNs allow this, Tor allows this,...

                    Why should they do any development when there's no lack of other people who can protect themselves and develop it?

                    First, let me be clear, the current developers of youtube-dl could trivially continue to work on the program in an organized way anonymously. Git allows this, VPNs allow this, Tor allows this, etc.

                    Second, it would take a significant amount of time for new contributors to familiarize themselves with the code, and even more time for new developers to organize around a specific fork of the project.

                    youtube-dl works on a myriad of websites, websites that often change, and so the program requires constant updates. For the time it would take for a new set of developers to start pushing updates in an organized manner, youtube-dl would stop functioning for several websites.

                    And sure, it would probably (or has probably) stopped working for some sites during the time it might take for the existing developers to re-organize securely, but I'd bet it'd take less time for them to re-organize and to update the program to fix breakages than it would a new roster of developers.

                    Also, the counter-claim submission, if they did one, needs to be responded to in like 10 days, I can't see how waiting a week or so matters at all for the development of youtube-dl.

                    Yes, I agree that taking fourteen days off after filing the counter-claim would not be a big deal, but filing the counter-claim does not guarantee them access to the GitHub repository again. The RIAA could easily escalate with a court order and access to the repository could continue to be blocked. The developers should prepare for both cases.


                    Look, despite the ranting in my last comment, I'm not saying John Smith with his wife, three kids, and a mortgage should feel compelled to risk his financial safety and continue updating youtube-dl's ability to download videos off spankmyass.net

                    However, I do think that if the developers feel comfortable continuing to work on the program, then they should and trivially could with minimal risk. No one should have to bend over backwards for the RIAA and other copyright ghouls. If I was a core contributor to youtube-dl, I sure as fuck would not comply and would use the tools available to me to continue to work on the program.

                    That's it. That's all I'm saying. If the developers want to continue their work, they should, I sure as fuck would, and it's trivial for them to do so safely. This discussion has reached the point where it feels silly, so I am going to check out here. Have a good day.

                    1 vote
                    1. stu2b50
                      Link Parent
                      That's only true to an extent. Remember, courts can subpoena all of your personal devices if this case has legs for some reason. Sure, you could also delete all traces from your personal computer...

                      First, let me be clear, the current developers of youtube-dl could trivially continue to work on the program in an organized way anonymously. Git allows this, VPNs allow this, Tor allows this, etc.

                      That's only true to an extent. Remember, courts can subpoena all of your personal devices if this case has legs for some reason. Sure, you could also delete all traces from your personal computer when the subpoena is issued, or use a burner computer from your local McDonalds, but doing that is illegal itself, and I would also say that it no longer becomes "trivial" when you're playing cat and mouse with law enforcement and your data.

                      If the case doesn't have legs, then it won't matter. Which it probably won't.

                      No one should have to bend over backwards for the RIAA and other copyright ghouls. If I was a core contributor to youtube-dl, I sure as fuck would not comply and would use the tools available to me to continue to work on the program.

                      Everyone has the personal ability to decide this (sort of), but I suppose I would just make sure anyone who does knows the stakes and capabilities.

                      3 votes
          2. acdw
            Link Parent
            Fair point. Though... Does dmca apply to hosts overseas? Or only american?

            Fair point. Though... Does dmca apply to hosts overseas? Or only american?

            1 vote
  9. [5]
    dredmorbius
    (edited )
    Link
    Strategically / tactically, the most interesting aspect of the RIAA attack on youtube-dl to me is that it puts Microsoft on notice to show its true colours. Is it Friend of Free Software, or...

    Strategically / tactically, the most interesting aspect of the RIAA attack on youtube-dl to me is that it puts Microsoft on notice to show its true colours. Is it Friend of Free Software, or Copyright Maximalist?

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I mean they don't really have a choice. Github needs to maintain their DMCA safe haven status or they basically cease to be able to function as a company. What would you like github to do, for...

      I mean they don't really have a choice. Github needs to maintain their DMCA safe haven status or they basically cease to be able to function as a company.

      What would you like github to do, for instance?

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        dredmorbius
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The safe haven provisions apply on a case-by-case basis, not across all possible copyright claims, so no, a single case need not prove fatal, though it could of course prove expensive. Github...

        The safe haven provisions apply on a case-by-case basis, not across all possible copyright claims, so no, a single case need not prove fatal, though it could of course prove expensive. Github (Microsoft) could refuse to acknowledge this request (which ... may not even be a valid DMCA takedown), and challenge or defend the status of youtube-dl and its developers.

        There are other options.

        • Microsoft could move GitHub operations or hosting offshore, outside DMCA jurisdiction.
        • Microsoft could lobby for copyright law reform negating the DMCA entirely, or greatly reducing its scope, or carving out specific exceptions.
        • Microsoft could pursue alternative copyright or music regimes which undermine the RIAA's stranglehold. Notably, the Microsoft Store online marketplace dropped books and music in 2017, meaning the RIAA has minimal leverage here. At the same time, an unencumbered alternative could provide an opening against two of Microsoft's biggest rivals, Apple (music), and Amazon (books). Possibly Google (both, plus, obv., video) and Netflix (video) as well. A large-corporate-backed Creative Commons media service would be a game-changer.
        4 votes
        1. dredmorbius
          Link Parent
          As I understand, takedown is a 17 USC 512 (copyright infringement) safe-harbour, but not a required or indemnifying protection under 17 USC 1201, anti-circumvention:...

          As I understand, takedown is a 17 USC 512 (copyright infringement) safe-harbour, but not a required or indemnifying protection under 17 USC 1201, anti-circumvention:

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1201

          Lumen (Chilling Effects) is silent on this point in their FAQ: https://lumendatabase.org/topics/14

          2 votes
      2. Greg
        Link Parent
        Be incorporated and hosted outside America, perhaps? Obviously I'm being glib, and that's never actually going to happen, but it is an interesting reminder that geography and jurisdiction matter...

        Be incorporated and hosted outside America, perhaps?

        Obviously I'm being glib, and that's never actually going to happen, but it is an interesting reminder that geography and jurisdiction matter even though the internet generally makes them invisible.

        3 votes
  10. vord
    Link
    And the FSR song remains relevant: Fuck the RIAA

    And the FSR song remains relevant:

    Fuck the RIAA

    1 vote
  11. [4]
    freddy
    Link
    As commenters on other threads have stated: this is a great example of the Streisand effect. There will now be a hell of a lot more mirrors of this repo.

    As commenters on other threads have stated: this is a great example of the Streisand effect. There will now be a hell of a lot more mirrors of this repo.

    1 vote
    1. onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      In fact, it looks like the repo that hosts DMCA takedown notices that GitHub has received now includes the source of youtube-dl. How this happened is explained on Reddit here and the thread around...

      In fact, it looks like the repo that hosts DMCA takedown notices that GitHub has received now includes the source of youtube-dl. How this happened is explained on Reddit here and the thread around this (along with precedence for this sort of "abuse" of PRs) is interesting.

      I wonder if GitHub will change the way that PRs are handled in light of this? From version control and data integrity standpoint, it makes total sense. From a legal perspective, it seems like it opens up a lot of liability. Fundamentally, I’m not sure how these conflicting perspectives can be reconciled.

      9 votes
    2. [2]
      ali
      Link Parent
      Mirrors don’t help though. if you want to develop it further you need a central point for everyone

      Mirrors don’t help though. if you want to develop it further you need a central point for everyone

      4 votes
      1. freddy
        Link Parent
        Fair point, however the code isn't going to be going away any time soon.

        Fair point, however the code isn't going to be going away any time soon.