Microsoft-owned GitHub has removed YouTube-dl, one of the most popular free YouTube video downloaders, after receiving a legal takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
YouTube-dl is a popular tool for downloading audio and videos from YouTube. However, it’s not restricted to YouTube and allows extracting videos from multiple sources such as Vimeo, DailyMotion, VEVO, CNN, etc.
Over 18 code repositories of YouTube downloaders have now been removed from Github, all of which were related to YouTube-dl. Interestingly, the project had more than 72,000 stars on GitHub.
In a letter sent to GitHub, RIAA argues that the project’s “source code was designed and is marketed for the purpose of circumventing YouTube’s technological measures to enable unauthorized access to our member’s copyrighted works, and to make unauthorized copies and distributions.”
According to YouTube’s terms and conditions, downloading copyrighted content from YouTube is illegal. Although there are legal ways to use YouTube-dl, users have primarily used it to rip copyrighted music and videos.
RIAA claims that the project’s only intent is to allow users to download copyrighted works. Of course, the developers can file a counterclaim which may result in the restoration of the YouTube-dl project on Github. But that may take some time.
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Nevertheless, youtube-dl would still work for people who have the software on their device or can obtain the file from a mirror website. Although, developers are likely to stop sending updates, meaning the YouTube video downloader can go offline at any point in time.
There is still the option of downloading YouTube videos legally or purchasing the $12/month YouTube premium subscription which offers background play, ad-free experience, unlimited access to YouTube Music, and YouTube originals.