back to article RIAA DMCAs GitHub into nuking popular YouTube video download tool, says it can be used to slurp music

GitHub has hidden from view the source code and downloads of YouTube-DL, a popular public-domain tool used for saving YouTube videos to disk, at the request of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The DMCA take-down demand, submitted on Friday evening, argues the software can be used to illegally download …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So perhaps they should DMCA the Apple store because their devices can potentially be used to do the same thing? Where exactly do you draw the line?

    1. 759b954e-617b-408b-a2b1-f5a42c3688d4

      Yep. There must be hundreds of different open source apps that can be used to slurp music. Hell, my laptop can be used to slurp music. Are they going to take my laptop off me?

      The RIAA needs taking down a peg or two.

      1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

        The RIAA needs to start representing the artists, not the copyright holders that always find a way to cheat the artists.

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Slippery Slope

        If they can class anything that can be used for illegal activity, then pretty much everything is illegal in their eyes.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Maybe they should DMCA all Turing-complete languages, what's your point?

      DRM is fundamentally flawed. When will these idiots get that into their heads?

      Even if it worked (which it CANNOT) it puts your own customers off of your content. You make LESS money.

      I would like to watch a DRM-infested file about as much as I would like to visit a "covid-secure" chain pub with app-only ordering of pints. (looking at you, Greene King)

      Meanwhile, determined pirates can still pirate your shit.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        You are missing the point here

        The purpose of the RIAA is to take money that would otherwise go to musicians and give it to lawyers instead. DRM+DMCA are working as intended.

        1. WonkoTheSane

          Re: You are missing the point here

          "The purpose of the RIAA is to take money that would otherwise go to musicians and give it to lawyers instead"

          This is why I usually refer to them and their motion picture colleagues by the name:-





          Associations of


          Or MAFIAA for short.

      2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        My perfectly legal

        Soundcard was pretty built to piss the RIAA off.

        It's got phono in and out (complete with phono amp so that I can hook a turntable directly up to it. I might have recorded a few albums with the 'home taping is killing music' sleeves on the inside).

        If I want to pirate music, then all I need a phono lead and hook the output to the input. Simples...

        Yet they freak out over a small tool like this? There's a very similar project to download iPlayer content but I don't see Aunty* screaming about it.

        * Aunty being old slang for the BBC.

        1. SuperGeek Bronze badge

          Re: My perfectly legal

          Audacity works great too with Spotify. Put it in WSASPI mode, and BOOM, capture straight from your outputs, no cables needed! Only downside is you need to tag files manually.

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: My perfectly legal

            Yes, yes I could do that as well but then it doesn't look as pointlessly silly...

            Abit like the RIAA...

            (For the record I have no issue with paying music artists for their work, these days I tend to buy it direct from the artists though. Usually at a show when I could get to them).

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: My perfectly legal

          You dont even need a lead. Just pop up a VM and you can record the digital audio and video.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        DRM is fundamentally flawed. When will these idiots get that into their heads?



        It's the same mindset as "You can have secure encryption but it must have a govt backdoor into it"

        And from people with pretty much the same sort of IT ignorant background.

      4. sabroni Silver badge

        re: as much as I would like to visit a "covid-secure" chain pub

        Why's that, are you immune?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it can be played

      It can be copied.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: If it can be played

        So the artists should be payed if it's played. Instead YouTube gets paid by the advertiser.

    4. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Where exactly do you draw the line?

      More specifically, where does the RIAA draw the line? Where the other party has more lawyer firepower (i.e., money) than they do.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Where exactly do you draw the line?

        The RIAA just makes it harder for the content creators.

  2. Sanguma Bronze badge

    Streisand Effect

    Just a question - how do the RIAA think people will react, once this tool has been brought into prominence by their actions? (I'm sure the source code is out there, and will now be copied more than ever, by people who can't read a line of it, but who will want to pass it around to stick it to The Man. Doofuses/doofi.)

    Where have all the noses gone, long time passing?

    Where have all the noses gone, long time ago?

    Where have all the noses gone?

    RIAA and MPAA have picked them everyone.

    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Nothing like a graceless dork pulling rank where there is none, to get up the noses of customers. Do you think the Numpty Breeders Association will finally show the RIAA CxOs when they finally do their (much awaited, many times delayed) Numpty Breeders Show?

    1. KarMann Bronze badge

      Re: Streisand Effect

      The problem with the source code out there is, once every few months, YouTube makes a behind-the-scenes change to the API which would break youtube-dl for a little while, until it got patched, you get the new version, and it works again. I don't think they do it just for the sake of making it harder for those of us who want to watch it on other devices, it's probably just a side effect, but either way, the effect is the same. Now, next time they break it, how are people going to work on the problem and share the solution once it's fixed? I suppose at the site linked in the article, eventually, but there's nothing to stop RIAA from going after whatever hosting provider they have there, and then you end up with a Pirate Bay-type situation if they can't work something reasonable out. Even if they do get to self-host the code, it's not going to be as usable as it was on GitHub, where I had my own minor fork of it with a little tweak I wanted that never got merged into master, and would regularly pull from upstream, push the merge, and pull to a couple of machines that use it.

      And not, I might add, for music videos. I hate YouTube trying to become a music site (system?) instead of a video site, and taking Google Play Music away. Just making it harder and harder to simply play a piece of music off an SD card, instead of 'the Cloud'.

      Oh dear, I'm finally turning into a curmudgeon, aren't I?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Streisand Effect

        Now, next time they break it, how are people going to work on the problem and share the solution once it's fixed?

        Self-host outside of the land of freedom.

        5 Best Self-hosted GitHub Alternatives

        Even if they do get to self-host the code, it's not going to be as usable as it was on GitHub, where I had my own minor fork of it with a little tweak I wanted that never got merged into master, and would regularly pull from upstream, push the merge, and pull to a couple of machines that use it.

        You wouldn't be able to point git on your computer to their repository and pull in updates to youtube-dl?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streisand Effect

      For ubuntu users it is (as of today Sat, 24/10/2020) in the repositories.

      1. tonique

        Re: Streisand Effect

        Sure it is, but at least I'm seeing version 2020.03.24, and the newest I have is 2020.09.20. The older one might not work correctly for all videos.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streisand Effect

      On Windows, if you have chocolatey (which you should) 'choco install youtube-dl' installs it in about 20 seconds, as of 14:50 24/10.

      Many thanks to the RIAA. I was completely unaware of this excellent and easy to use tool until just now.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Streisand Effect

      Streisand effect keeps giving! I'd never heard of this and would have taken the list of "music" that could be downloaded as a warning. However as it's in Python the normal installation method applies. Yup, does what it says on the tin. Thanks RIAA.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taylor Swift downloads?

    Now sir, be serious!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Taylor Swift downloads?

      I'd call that fork "Sexy giraffe"

  4. Michael Hoffmann

    Forks, forks everywhere!

    Just did a brief superficial search on "youtube-dl" on Github.

    There's forks, ports, extensions, galore.

    Good luck playing whack-a-mole!

    1. tp2

      Re: Forks, forks everywhere!

      Since whack-a-mole is such a popular game, here's my version of it:

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forks, forks everywhere!

      "pip3 install youtube-dl" also works (for now).

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Wait, the RIAA now OK with YouTube being full of free music? And it's going after apps stealing the free music?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They don't mind the music as long as it's monetised so they get their cut. They don't like youtube-dl though because it rips the song and bypasses all the ads and such, so they don't get paid.

      Well, not as much. I imagine they'll still get a fraction of a penny as it would still trigger a increment to the "view" counter, but likes, subscriptions and ads pay far more than simple views.

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      I think music studios can get royalties from legit. videos on every play, when the play is delivered through the normal Youtube interface.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        re: I think music studios can get royalties from legit. videos on every play

        For a given miniscule value of "royalties".....

  6. whoseyourdaddy

    The real problem is when you download your music...

    you edit out the YouTube commercials.

    So, no further use for YouTube, therefore no ad revenue...

    1. gobaskof

      Re: The real problem is when you download your music...

      I have UBlock Orgin filter out the adverts for me on youtube. (If you turn annoyance filtering on it also filters out the please login crap). But sometimes you need to download something. Probably not music, there are a million places to get that in high quality far more easily. But what about youtube original content you want to remix? Or when you want to splice together videos of Trump talking about injecting bleach with Bernard Black drinking oven cleaner and shouting "If it can clean an oven, it can clean me!". Many important reasons!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Awesome tip !

        Thanks to you, I have now learned how to permanently get rid of that logon crap.

        Thank you so much !

        Ublock Origin is already great, but now it is on par with NoScript. An indispensable tool to protect my security and privacy.

        Thank you Ublock Origin !

  7. JimPoak


    RIAA has a long history of fails.

    Tax on magnetic media (c assets) Fail

    Tax on writable media (CD roms) Fail

    And now this. YouTube bleating about downloads is only because they have unsuccessfully tried to stop youtube-dl adapting to these measures and continue to download with impunity. YouTube is frustrated because they don't have excursive access to your machine,wallet and your life. Youtube-dl does go to other places and I don't see anybody else complaining. May be the only solution to this problem is to take down YouTube.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fail!

      They were good on specifying physical recording characteristics, pre-emphasis/de-emphasis and the like. It seems to have been all downhill since then.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I am just sad that my VLC won't play/download YT-links anymore.

    1. davidp231

      Re: VLC

      youtube.lua is your friend.

  9. karlkarl Silver badge

    To be fair the fault starts at youtube.

    They should provide a download button so useful tools like youtube-dl shouldn't even be needed.

    Youtube should also reject music from artists (or more likely companies) who don't respect freedom.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Freedom never meant stealing. I'm sure you would be the first one to complain if you could create anything worth stealing.

      1. Registered Register Registrant

        Stealing never meant unauthorized distribution.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you download a video, do you do so with the specific intention of redistributing it? I know I don't.

      2. karlkarl Silver badge

        @LDS: That is a naive view you have. Who said anything about stealing?

        ... just you it seems.

      3. Filippo

        Attempting to equate copyright infringement with stealing is nothing more than an abuse of language that the RIAA and similar actors have been using as a rhethorical trick, to attempt to upgrade the optics of their grievances to something more sympathetic. In reality, both of those terms have a clear and very well-defined meaning, and they are not the same.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Would you be happy if someone pirated your car?"

          "If my car was still there, and hadn't been affected, then why not?"

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Think about sharing your partner with many others.... or someone defecating in your garden... or using your power/water - your partner, your garden, your power lines/water pipes are still there....

        2. Robert Grant Silver badge

          That's true, but you don't seem so uncomfortable with the original assertion that musical copyright is automatically an enemy of freedom.

        3. LDS Silver badge

          OK. You have just asserte I can rip off all the open source code I like regardless of the license, put it into my closed source applications and sell them. And they cannot complain - it's FREEDOM!

          I'm not stealing, I'm just making money from someone else's work without any effort!!! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

          One day you all will understand GPL is enforceable only BECAUSE copyright, for example....

          1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

            I'm not stealing

            Indeed, you're not. It's called 'copyright infringement', but only if you're using a GPL style licence and even then you can sell all the copies you want as long as you share your changes with the community.

            Which part of that do you NOT understand?

            As for making money off of other people's work without giving anything back; large companies are 'ripping off' Open Source all the time. Apple is using source made available through a BSD style licence. Sony is doing the same for their playstation.

            Apparently the people who wrote this code do not only not care, they seem to encourage this behaviour.

            One day you all will understand GPL is enforceable only BECAUSE copyright

            O wise one. You have finally opened my eyes to the horrible truth of it all. I am sure you have enlightened all the commenters in this thread o great one.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "you can sell all the copies you want as long as you share your changes with the community."

              Sure, but why should I abide to the GPL license whilew you don't want to abide to music distribution licenses and call it "freedom"? Are those songs licensed to be downloaded? No, they aren't.


              You can't decide what licenses are OK and what are not - based on your greed and personal advantages.

              And if you feel free to break music copyright, why people should respect GPL ones?

              1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

                Re: "you can sell all the copies you want as long as you share your changes with the community."

                Repeat after me:

                'Copyright infringement is not stealing'.

                Shame they don't appear to teach reading comprehension in schools anymore.

          2. Filippo

            No, you can't. You'd get busted for copyright infringement. You would not, however, get busted for stealing. I really don't think that's hard to understand.

      4. martynhare
        Thumb Up

        Freedom of thought and freedom of speech...

        Combine these two freedoms and copyright falls apart - especially in the case of music. The argument that playing a recording of a musical work is the same as the artist performing it falls apart the moment that publicly playing back the words of a racist gets the person who hits the play button arrested, not the person who originally said them.

        In any event, YouTube needs to list the licence terms associated with videos because you can upload under Creative Commons. With their help it would be trivial to add a licence check by default to make the RIAA piss right off.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Freedom of thought and freedom of speech...

          "In any event, YouTube needs to list the licence terms associated with videos because you can upload under Creative Commons. With their help it would be trivial to add a licence check by default to make the RIAA piss right off."

          And from the article "YouTube Standard license, which expressly restricts access to copyrighted works only for streaming on YouTube"

          I don't recall ever seeing a clear and obvious link to any licencing terms on YT videos, either on YT itself and most certainly not on YT vids embedded on other site such this fine site.

      5. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

        Janis Joplin

        This chick I once knew, Bobby McGee, she told me that freedom was just another word for nothing left to loose…

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      YouTube *DOES* provide a download link.... if you pay for the service.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        You mean YouTube premium? It allows you to download songs and videos on your phone, but you cannot (directly) access the file. And there is no download option available on your desktop.

  10. revenant

    Thank You RIAA

    I've been trying to download a video and failing due to YT fuckery of some sort, so I thought I ought to find something designed for the purpose. Thanks to the RIAA I have been made aware of youtube-dl, which is easily installed from the Mint repositories.

    Although I had to go elsewhere to find a source that I could download the video from, I now have a tool that does the job.

    I'm not sure if that's quite the outcome that the RIAA intended, but thanks anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank You RIAA

      Yes I second that.

      I'm on the end of a too often p*ss poor 4G connection (currently running at 30 kbps!!) in rural France, so have been thinking that an offline Youtube downloader would be useful when the 4G is running at full whack (~ 50 mbps here), so I can grab content to look at later when speeds plummet again.

      Thanks to the article and the comments, I now have several options to try out! ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thank You RIAA

        Nice replies, but I seriously doubt this is the first time any of you have heard of youtube-dl !

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thank You RIAA

          Actually I hadn't heard of it. I was just vaguely aware that down loaders existed.

          (I tried it earlier but it didn't complete the download - unexpected end-of-file encountered. I'll try it again after reading up on the myriad of options available - maybe one of those will help, or it might just have been a glitch with my connection.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thank You RIAA

            Ok, fair enough! I thought maybe you were just making digs at the riaa.

            Default options of YouTube-dl should work fine. Probably a net glitch

          2. KarMann Bronze badge

            Re: Thank You RIAA

            That EOF thing is a thing that often happens with brand-new uploads, and usually goes away once their servers have had time to process them and produce all the formats, but occasionally seems to persist indefinitely. My workaround for it has been to manually specify a different format (e.g., instead of '-f 22' for the simple 720p MP4, '-f 136+140' for getting separate MP4 720p video & M4A 128 kbps audio files and merging them). After a short time, it's usually just the one format that continues giving the EOF error.

    2. jvf

      Re: Thank You RIAA

      Me too. The hell with downloading Taylor Swift music. I watch tutorials and informational videos but I’m stuck on DSL (shared with family) and sometimes can’t even open some videos. Plus, DSL goes down frequently. I used to know how to download for watching when Internet access was not available but it’s long forgotten and prob. doesn’t work anymore. Now I’ll be able to get some of them saved until this one breaks.

  11. Tomato42

    Take down RIAA and MPAA

    Can't we take down the MAFIAA? It would be of much bigger help to artists than taking down tools like this.

  12. DS999

    How is that different than trying to ban VCRs that can record?

    They got slapped down by the Supreme Court when they tried that.

    They should have banned the cassette player I had as a kid, because I could have recorded songs off the radio if I wanted! What percentage of Youtube videos contain copyrighted songs? They are seeking to ban recording of ANY Youtube video, because of the tiny fraction that contain their stuff.

    Disappointed in Github giving in to them, clearly a big downside of Microsoft owning them!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the documentation does really refer to specific copyrighted artists, then that's a silly move for sure as that could be seen to be encouraging copyright infringement. That said, as the EFF says, there are clear 'fair use' interests in being able to download, format-shift, and archive otherwise ephemeral video content from the internet.

    A world where people in power can pretend they never said something is problematic, as is the idea that culture of a given time might be lost as standards change - those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, and you can't study it if there's no record.

    1. DevOpsTimothyC

      The documentation didn't refer to any copyrighted content. The project can download from a bunch of places, not just youtube. It has modules for each place (eg dailmotion) it can download from.

      The unit tests referenced songs from well known artists. In all cases the unit tests downloaded the first few seconds / packets before discarding them. The downloaded content was never saved to disk.

      The unit tests in question were for age restricted content, special characters ($ in particular), and I cannot remember the 3rd one.

      There have also been various reports that youtube-dl (intentionally) cannot download content with specific licence types. I didn't get all the details there, however it does raise the question "Were the video's uploaded with a licence which allowed them to be shared / embedded etc"

      The 3 identified tests as well as 3 others were patched out within hours

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. js6898

    WinX youtube downloader anyone?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Does it work on Linux?

  16. Mike 16 Silver badge

    The day the music died

    AFAICT, that would have been (a few years) before I was born, based on the evidence of a combo radio/turntable/wire-recorder I saw at a flea-market. Besides being able to "rip" vinyl (well maybe shellac) discs, it could also "steal" radio programs selected on the built-in timer. Exactly the sort of thing that the music industry keeps saying will be the death of music. This being slightly before I was born, and me still alive, maybe music has a few years left.

    Meanwhile, YouTube seems to be quite efficient at turning over ad revenue on videos of musicians playing their own compositions to anybody who claims to "own the copyright" (brown envelopes may be involved)

    Does anybody older than me recall if the death of music was also prophesied when photography (and photolithography) met sheet music?

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: The day the music died

      No, but I read once that piano rolls caused the same shrieking.

  17. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    "Home taping is killing music"... I wish...

    ...have you heard any current pop music lately? It's effing terrible with Autotune all over it.

    1. vogon00

      Re: "Home taping is killing music"... I wish...

      "It's effing terrible with Autotune all over it ." FTFY.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Home taping is killing music"... I wish...

        No, the man is right. People's idea of doing music these days (exceptions apply) consists of talking auto-generated lyrics (there are websites for this) over a bought / downloaded stock track and feeding the lot to autotune. It really *is* worth less than the £0 you pay for it.

        As said above, there are exceptions, including judicious use of auto tune, but they're in the minority.

  18. Brenda McViking

    Fire the author immediately

    Since when has the register ever done an article on RIAA without fully expanding the acronym properly to the Recording Industry Ass. of America??!?

    As soon as they're fired we can have fisticuffs over whether it's an initialism or not

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ummm .... Microsoft?

    Would this have even happened pre-MS acquisition?

    1. serendipity

      Re: Ummm .... Microsoft?


      I guess you didn't do any research before commenting. If you had, you'd most probably have come across the GitHub Transparency Report.

      Here's the link to 2017, the year before the MS acquisition;

      Looks like there was quite a lot of takedown activity pre-MS!

      (And I can't believe five people up-voted your comment - well I can actually!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm .... Candyman?

      Say it's name three times and it appears to destroy your rights!!!

  20. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Nothing to do with the artists

    I’m not condoning pirating music but when the artists on YouTube are getting 0.0001p per play then it seems to me they’re not going to notice if you do.

    This has got nothing to do with protecting the artists - they are getting screwed regardless - it’s to do with protecting the income of all the hangers-on and lawyers and other such bolloxy people.

  21. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    heh good luck

    Opens audacity,

    Sets it to loopback mode

    Opens youtube in browser

    Plays music and presses 'record' in audacity

    Exports it as MP3 and sends it to phone.

  22. the Jim bloke


    I've heard of it.

    Apparently it expects Javascript enabled

  23. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters


    Looks like I'll stick to 4KVideoDownloader instead - copy/paste link, download at highest quality available, can convert to mp3 or other stuff on the fly, no ads etc etc.

    More than good enough for background music in the workshop.

    Or just watch youtube with uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, Ghostery and <deity> knows what for ad-free enjoyable video ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I'd better watch out - I could be next to get taken down...

  24. SecretSonOfHG

    By extension

    ... I remind the RIAA that they are not yet done. They have to ask GitHub to take down the following packages (all versions and platforms), as they all can be used to download and play copyrighted material without authorization: Linux, web browsers, every media player, all web servers, all database servers and its management tools, and all language interpreters, compilers and IDEs. I remember there was a place called SourceForge that still hosts some of these, RIAA should go for them too.

    When they are done with that they should go after every cloud storage service, since these can also be used to store and share copyrighted material.

    Removable storage should follow, as I can still pass to a friend a pen drive, cassette, CD or DVD. Network cards and internet, and in general, all kind of network connections should be taken down after that.

  25. Hans Acker

    RIAA has a point there, unfortunately

    Y'all are missing that the stupid, stupid developers handed RIAA the sword themselves.

    The crux of the complaint are these tests (and similar ones): youtube_dl/extractor/

    'note': 'Test generic use_cipher_signature video (#897)'

    'note': 'Test VEVO video with age protection (#956)'

    'note': 'Embed-only video (#1746)'

    They test that youtube-dl could still decode DRM-protected content, circumvent age restrictions and download content marked "embed-only".

    It's hard to argue that youtube-dl was developed for benign, legal purposes if it contains code that verifies that the illegal purposes still work and do so by downloading copyrighted material. If only they'd used their own test videos, RIAA would have needed to find a better attack surface. With the code as it is, there's little defense available. OCD coders dumped this fail on themselves.

    Most of the youtube extractor code will have to go, I'm afraid, with unit-tests added to verify that it would only download Creative Commons licensed, unrestricted content and no future change accidentally "breaks" that feature.

  26. brain_flakes

    If I show the RIAA how to use Win-G to screencap Youtube videos can they DMCA the Windows source code?

  27. mark l 2 Silver badge

    When I last downloaded something from Youtube just a few months ago I used one of the many online downloader websites I found from an internet search.

    Lots of them give you the option to just download the audio as an MP3 rather than the video, so useful if you are just looking for some new music to listen and aren't interested in watching the video.

    I do also use Ublock origin to block the ads on youtube as well. Recently without it it become almost unwatchable where you can be getting 3 ad breaks in a 10 minute video, often the ads will appear mid sentence as well so it breaks up the flow of the video.

    If you do want to support a channel on youtube without having to watch the ads. Open a private browser window and run there entire video playlist overnight without an ad blocker running. And you could even click on a few random ads as well.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: I wonder...

      More to do with the current president's lawyer being video'd "adjusting his accourements" while in a hotel room with a 15 year old girl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        Or both. Our overlords don't like us keeping videos of their dirty laundry.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If music was free and drugs legal they could make all the money they wanted out of LIVE music, which is what really matters.

    Also raves.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Live Music Ancillary Rights?

      @AC : I'm assuming that the music publishers will also claim ancillary rights on those live performances (Can't have the artists making enough off tee-shirt sales to buy themselves out of the indentured servitude of contracts).

      And of course exclusive rights on band-branded Molly at the raves.

  30. msobkow

    I don't support the "I should get everything available on the internet for free" mentality. At all.

    I'm a programmer. I expect to be PAID for my work and services, not just have a bunch of script kiddies grabbing it because they can.

    I feel the same way about ANY artist's product.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      I was also a professional software engineer for 40 years and I also expected to get paid. However, I didn't publish my code on a website and expect the law to allow me to stop people downloading it. Nor did I expect to "monetise" it by stealing personal information from my users or interrupting their experience with ads.

      Music artists are free to sell their wares. But don't post them in public and expect the rest of us to enforce whatever demands they might make for "payment". In particular, don't demand the benefits (low distribution costs, ease of consumption, lots of publicity) of sites like YouTube and then expect to be able to monetise it: one or the other is reasonable.

      The international music industry needs taking down several pegs. Support local performers, in whatever musical genres you like, attend concerts, buy their recordings from them. Kill the national and international music industries.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "don't post them in public and expect the rest of us to enforce whatever demands they might make"

        So you're asserting I can rip off all the open source code I like ignoring the licenses and selling that inside my closed source code. Their bad for publishing it and expecting me to enforce whatever demands they might make!!!

  31. rnturn

    So now... when my browser is unable to play a video because GoogleTube has screwed up the capability for the Nth time this month, I'm not even able to download it and view it directly on my desktop using some other application. Nice move RIAA---I'll bet the recording artists that were counting on views of the video by potential music buyers are thrilled to have you screwing up their royalties.

  32. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

    Let's be honest

    Technically and legally they are right. The stated main use for youtube-dl really is grabbing media that the creator/owner would legitimately like to be paid for. Not just from youtube either, it works very well for the naughty video sites. (Er, so I'm told!)

    Did the EFF's claim of, "a world of lawful usages," include any examples perhaps?

    In practice there always has been a moderate amount of this sort of thing going on, and they will never finish playing whack-a-mole on that one. And it is a moderate amount because, surprisingly, most people are pretty decent.

    Personally I pay for a proper download, or even one of those funny plastic things, where it's available to do so. I've no doubt at all that the performer gets more from that than any number of streaming views that I'm capable of. Some performances by my favourite artist simply aren't anywhere else, so youtube-dl is my friend until they are.

    Then of course, the numpties have thoroughly streisanded it. Good Jaaaab!

    1. dave 81

      Re: Let's be honest

      Downloading the verge's PC "build" video, and then using that in an edit to criticize (fair use) how shockingly bad advice it was, and what a bunch of tools the verge are.

    2. Steve Graham

      "a world of lawful usages"

      Did the EFF's claim of, "a world of lawful usages," include any examples perhaps?

      I did one a couple of months ago. I think it was lawful anyway. I wanted to make a video for one of my old band's original songs, "Accidents in Space", so I downloaded the very early movie "Un Voyage Dans La Lune" and extracted a clip from it.

      Amusingly, when I put the result on Facebook, some bot issued a takedown on behalf of UMG. I'm guessing, but the official video of the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight" is a "parody" (to put it politely) of the ancient French film, and may have looked similar enough.

      So I uploaded it to YouTube and put the link on Fakebook. YouTube doesn't care about copyright.

    3. DuncanLarge

      Re: Let's be honest

      > Did the EFF's claim of, "a world of lawful usages," include any examples perhaps?

      We dont have to tax our imagination too hard. Here are just a few examples of very commonly practiced reasons for downloading from youtube:

      1. Your internet is crap most of the time but it gets better during the day when you are at work. When you get home, you can barely watch anything, caching all the time, kids screaming for bandwidth. Well, you have cron on your linux box run youtube-dl to download the latest vids from your subscriptions. Yes, many people have very slow internet, I still go to work with people who think having 1Mb/s is normal.

      2. You wish to debunk some crap that some idiot said about 5G. You want to use the DCMA's own "fair use" exemptions to allow you to incorporate reasonable length segments of the offending video. Somehow you need to import it into your NLE. How????

      3. The video is licensed under a CC license permitting redistribution and perhaps modification. I wonder how we can pull it out of youtube.

      4. You are a datahoarder. You download everything, cant help it. Your kind will be the saviours of human culture after the zombie apocalypse.

      5. You are downloading a public domain work.

      6. You are downloading your own videos as the youtube method is now slow and inconvenient after their yearly UI update that everyone hates.

      7. You are an archivist, see datahoarder only without the need to hoard.

      Shall we do cars next? They are used to kill people, kidnap children and run drugs but I think we can find a few legitimate uses for a car, if we try really hard we may be able to keep using them dont your think?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs GIT?!? Download with ONE LINE of Perl!

    Or you could Download a YouTube video with one line of Perl!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who needs GIT?!? Download with ONE LINE of Perl!

      "Or you could Download a YouTube video with one line of Perl"

      That's a very misleading statement. Calling a library function (library sold separately) is just the same as running youtube-dl. You'd need to download and install the library first.

  34. peter webb


    Thanks for pointing me to this free tool!

  35. msknight

    It doesn't work on protected streams anyhow

    For to long, the system has been failing on YouTube streams anyhow, except the ones which are least protected.

    I've used the tool to backup my own live stream videos to YT anyway, a perfectly legal use as I'm the copyright holder.

    All they have to do is rename the thing and pop it back up again. It's just stream capture anyway. What next, outlawing kitchen knives because they can be used to kill people?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Having been on the receiving end of DMCA notice sent to Github[*] , I discovered the following..

    - Anybody can issue a DMCA takedown notice for whatever reason they feel like, with little more than a contact email address and a fake name.

    - The host is legally obliged to immediately remove or restrict the specified content, no questions asked. Most will actually close your account if they get enough notices (where enough can be >= 1)

    - To respond, you have to file a counter notice giving your full legal name and address which is then passed on to the complainant whom can reject it if they can't verify it. They are then supposed to initiate legal action if they feel they are justifed.

    In practice, like most sesible people, I enjoy my illusion of privacy, and have knowledge of other people who have been through this route getting rather intimidating strangers at their door. This is not something I would appreciate. Thus I did not respond, and have instead had to rely on other means of publishing my code.

    DMCA would appear to be a charter for bullies and big busineses to drive anything they see as detrimental to their world-view into the ground.

    * A short php program that acted as a minimal proof-of-concept server for an obsolete Windows 3 client program. 100% my own code and certainly not in violation of any copyrights, which is all DMCA can be concerned with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dmca

      - The host is legally obliged to immediately remove or restrict the specified content, no questions asked. Most will actually close your account if they get enough notices (where enough can be >= 1)

      Not exactly. They aren't legally obliged to remove or restrict the content. However, if they choose to do nothing after the DMCA notice is issued, they lose their "safe harbour" exemption and become legally liable for any infringement the content is guilty of.

      So most hosts just remove it as it's less of a headache. Even if the notice has no grounds whatsoever. There have been notable exceptions though, when the host has said "Umm..actually we're not going to remove anything as this DMCA notice has no merit". But you only do that if you're sure of winning a court case if one ever turns up

  37. JBowler

    I guess if you stop development of the source code it might eliminate the app, in 20 years

    But it certainly doesn't remove the app from OS distros until that happens. On an RPi near me:

    # apt search youtube-dl

    youtube-dl/oldstable 2017.05.18.1-1 all

    Hum, a bit old, how about this other RPi:

    # apt search youtube-dl

    youtube-dl/stable 2019.01.17-1.1 all

    But I want the source, mum! So, on a gentoo machine near me:

    # emerge --fetchonly youtube-dl

    [... whole load of python crypto code I didn't need before ...]

    >>> Fetching (3 of 3) net-misc/youtube-dl-2020.09.20::gentoo

    The RIAA are still the ship of fools they were in 1980s; a bunch of lawyers who go out looking for stable doors to close, making a whole load of money for lawyers and none for anyone else on the planet. First and only qualification for a lawyer; know a lot of law and nothing about reality.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: I guess if you stop development of the source code it might eliminate the app, in 20 years

      Much less than 20 years, next time Google tinkers with the API. Which they do frequently. Probably to deter the likes of youtube-dl.

      I expect it will continue to be developed, out of reach of DMCA takedowns. It will probably get chased out of distributions' package managers though.

  38. Dinsdale247

    Did 2020 loop around to 1999? Na, it's been stuck at 1984 since March.

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