Last month, GitHub banned YouTube-dl, the popular video downloader tool. Now the code hosting platform has unbanned and restored the repository saying that the tool indicated didn’t violate technical protection measures placed by YouTube.
The whole debacle began when the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) issued a DCMA takedown notice against Youtube-dl. It alleged that the tool used copyrighted songs from artists such as Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and others, as samples of videos that people can download. So GitHub took down the Youtube-dl repo.
Now that didn’t bode well with researchers and activists who were furious as they used this tool for legitimate purposes such as transcribing interviews or downloading non-copyrighted videos. So angry developers started hosting Youtube-dl alternatives on GitHub and GitLab.
One of them even went to the extent of adding the original YouTube-dl source code to GitHub’s official repository for DCMA takedowns to mock the platform.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the digital rights non-profit, wrote a letter to GitHub saying that YouTube-dl did not break any DCMA rules or bypass YouTube’s technical protections.
Following which GitHub restored YouTube-dl repository. It also promised to bring several new measures in place to prevent such misjudgement in the future.
For starters, every DCMA 1201 claim (circumvention of copyright protection systems) will be reviewed by experts inside and outside the company.
Next, the help of legal experts will be taken to decide the boundaries of DCMA takedowns. In case allegations can’t be proved properly, GitHub will side with the developer in question until the violation is proven. If found guilty, GitHub will also ask developers to make changes to avoid takedowns.
Last, but not the least, GitHub has dedicated $1 million to protect developers from fraudulent DCMA claims.