After receiving a takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), GitHub decided to remove the popular YouTube video downloader ‘YouTube-dl’ from the platform.
It deleted 18 GitHub repositories that were related to YouTube-dl. RIAA claims that free YouTube downloader violated copyright laws by letting users download licensed content illegally.
However, several activists and developers are arguing that the tool was meant to download videos with creatives common licensing from the government and other free sources.
We still have several YouTube-dl alternatives as angry YouTube-dl fans have flood GitHub with new repos after takedown. Here I have tried to list down some of the top starred projects related to the original tool. In case you want the original copy of YouTube-dl’s source code, keep reading this article.
This repo contains a cross-platform front-end GUI of the popular youtube-dl written in wxPython.
Based on node.js, this GitHub repo lets you download videos using youtube-dl.
Web GUI that lets you download videos from any platform.
A copyright-respecting fork of youtube-dl.
Now, this one’s interesting because the owner of this repo is a security engineer named Lance Vick, who had previously reported a bug to GitHub that allows anyone to attach commits to repos they don’t control.
But GitHub obviously chose to ignore it, and now many angry devs are using this loophole to attach the original YouTube-dl source code to different repositories.
One user went as far as to attach the original YouTube-dl source code to GitHub’s official repository for DCMA takedowns to mock the platform.
I understand it could be a challenge for the repo owners to keep up with the changes made in YouTube’s code and update these tools so that users can download videos without any hassle.
Right now, there are hundreds of forks of the original youtube-dl. So it can be difficult for users to determine which of these projects have the most updated version. We’ll have to wait and watch how that goes or if we get some better YouTube-dl alternatives. Meanwhile, I will keep on updating the list.
But my biggest concern with YouTube-dl’s takedown is that it sets a damaging example when it comes to removing other software repos that aren’t violating any copyright laws. It could bring dark clouds over other such useful tools on GitHub in the future. And we know that censorship has already weakened the essence of GitHub.
Anyway, do share your thoughts on this and let me know if you come across a more interesting project for the same.