GitHub restores popular YouTube downloader after removal uproar
YouTube-DL is back on GitHub. The popular YouTube downloader was removed last month from the website of GitHub, a major repository of coding information for developers, after the Microsoft-owned platform received a notice that the tool was being used to bypass protections from Copyright. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) removal request stated that YouTube-DL’s clear purpose was “to reproduce and distribute music videos.” GitHub was severely criticized for being compliant and has now brought the tool back together with an explainer on what it will do to prevent removals in the future.
GitHub said it was bringing the project back because it recognizes the various non-infringing applications of the tool. “We understand that just because the code can be used to access copyrighted works does not mean that it cannot also be used to access works in a non-infringing way,” GitHub said in a blog post announcing the return of YouTube-DL on their platform. However, it took the platform around three weeks to come to a conclusion. The post also details why the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests have been difficult for the platform to navigate with a explainer about their policies.
the tool removal and its platform source code was criticized in several reports detailing its applications – for being used by journalists to collect videos as evidence before they are removed from YouTube for use educators to download videos in areas where the Internet connection was slow or less reliable. The removal was also questioned by GitHub users who said that any internet browser could be used to download and distribute YouTube videos that YouTube-DL was being accused of enabling.
In announcing the reinstatement of the tool, GitHub said that YouTube-dl did not “violate the anti-circumvention prohibitions of the DMCA” and that the allegations “did not establish a violation of the law.” It also acknowledged that the rule of law that had followed to remove the tool (Section 1201 of the DMCA established in the 1990s) had not anticipated its implications on the use of software today.
GitHub has ensured that future removal claims are vetted by technical and legal experts to avoid such a case in the future. “Every credible 1201 removal claim will be reviewed by technical experts, even as GitHub hires appropriate independent specialists, to ensure that the project actually circumvents a technical protection measure as outlined in the claim,” he said.
The platform has also said that it will “go wrong on the developer’s side” in case of ambiguity.
GitHub had released its operations in India at the beginning of this year. The California-based company had said it plans to build an India team across its functions, including community, engineering, sales, support, marketing and services.