GitHub To Offer Free Legal Help For Open-Source Developers To Help Battle DMCA Abuse

Developers will see a free independent legal counsel option when they're notified about a DMCA.


Everyone remembers the recent youtube-dl takedown by GitHub. For those of you who don’t know, youtube-dl is an open-source download manager using which one can download videos and audio from YouTube and a thousand other video hosting websites. It is one of the most starred projects on GitHub.

In November last year, GitHub removed youtube-dl and its forked repositories because of a complaint from the Recording Industry Association of America, and the tool was disabled as DMCA takedown.

For those who don’t know, DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It’s a US copyright law for the internet. An example is when Microsoft filed a DMCA complaint against a tech blog for spreading unreleased Windows 11 ISO builds.

However, youtube-dl was later restored on the platform thanks to EFF’s letter to GitHub. It looks like GitHub recently revisited the case. It is now offering open source developers free legal help to combat DMCA abuse.

GitHub has now partnered with Stanford Law School’s Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic on a mission to help developers by offering them free legal support. This comes almost eight months after GitHub overhauling its Section 1201 claim process. RIAA received a lot of criticism for abusing DMCA.

This free legal help will definitely help programmers to fight DMCA requests against bigger corporations that file DMCA either for their own good or due to the competition. Whenever GitHub notifies a developer of a “Valid takedown claim,” they will also see a free independent legal counsel option.

Apart from that, GitHub’s head of developer policy, Muke Linksvayer said, the fellowship will also teach “researching, educating, and advocating on DMCA and other legal issues important for software innovation.”

“The fellow will also train students in the clinic and other lawyers on how to work with developers and advocate on behalf of open source communities. On the whole, these activities will help shape a developer-friendly legal landscape and balance the scales on legal issues important for open source developers,” he added.

Do you think this will help developers easily counter larger firms abusing DMCA for their own benefit? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a Linux and Tech Writer. Hailing from a Computer Science background, the start of his love for Tech dates back to 2011, when he was gifted a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Tech, you'll find him binge-watching anime and Tech content on YouTube or hunting heads in competitive FPS games. You can also find his work on Android Police and How-To Geek.
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