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RIAA Abuses DMCA to Take Down Popular Tool for Downloading Online Videos

“youtube-dl” is a popular free software tool for downloading videos from YouTube and other user-uploaded video platforms. GitHub recently took down youtube-dl’s code repository at the behest of the Recording Industry Association of America, potentially stopping many thousands of users, and other programs and services, that rely on it.

On its face, this might seem like an ordinary copyright takedown of the type that happens every day. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a copyright holder can ask a platform to take down an allegedly infringing post and the platform must comply. (The platform must also allow the alleged infringer to file a counter-notice, requiring the copyright holder to file a lawsuit if she wants the allegedly infringing work kept offline.) But there’s a huge difference here with some frightening ramifications: youtube-dl doesn’t infringe on any RIAA copyrights.

youtube-dl doesn’t use RIAA-member labels’ music in any way. The makers of youtube-dl simply shared information with the public about how to perform a certain task—one with many completely lawful applications.

RIAA’s argument relies on a different section of the DMCA, Section 1201. DMCA 1201 says that it’s illegal to bypass a digital lock in order to access or modify a copyrighted work. Copyright holders have argued that it’s a violation of DMCA 1201 to bypass DRM even if you’re doing it for completely lawful purposes; for example, if you’re downloading a video on YouTube for the purpose of using it in a way that’s protected by fair use. (And thanks to the way that copyright law has been globalized via trade agreements, similar laws exist in many other jurisdictions too.) RIAA argues that since youtube-dl could be used to download music owned by RIAA-member labels, no one should be able to use the tool, even for completely lawful purposes.

This is an egregious abuse of the notice-and-takedown system, which is intended to resolve disputes over allegedly infringing material online. Again, youtube-dl doesn’t use RIAA-member labels’ music in any way. The makers of youtube-dl simply shared information with the public about how to perform a certain task—one with many completely lawful applications.

We’ve put together an explainer video on this takedown, and its implications for free speech online:

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%3Ciframe%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2Fck7utXYcZng%3Fautoplay%3D1%26mute%3D1%22%20allow%3D%22accelerometer%3B%20autoplay%3B%20clipboard-write%3B%20encrypted-media%3B%20gyroscope%3B%20picture-in-picture%22%20allowfullscreen%3D%22%22%20width%3D%22560%22%20height%3D%22315%22%20frameborder%3D%220%22%3E%3C%2Fiframe%3E

Privacy info.
This embed will serve content from youtube.com

Please share this video with others who use YouTube and other video uploading services. And if you use youtube-dl for lawful purposes, we want to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] and include “youtube-dl” in the subject line.


This post has been republished with permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on EFF. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.

-> Click Here to Read the Original Article <-

About The Author

Elliot Harmon

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. Visit https://www.eff.org

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