INTRO: The company GitHub has removed YouTube-dl, an incredibly popular Python library to assist download YouTube videos. This new move is in revert back to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
By Visiting the project’s page now it shows a landing page that links viewers to the notice. “This repository is currently disabled thanks to a DMCA takedown notice. We have disabled public access to the repository. The notice has been publicly posted,” as it reads the page.
Along with the first project repository, GitHub has also removed a bunch of forked private and public repositories that contained the ASCII text file of the first YouTube-dl project.
In its letter, RIAA claims that YouTube-dl’s purpose is to “circumvent the technological protection measures employed by authorized streaming services like YouTube” and to let users “reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use.”
The letter mentions how some users make use of the tool to download copyrighted works, especially VEVO videos. Furthermore, the letter points out how the ASCII text file of the tool claimed it are often wont to copy and distribute songs from artists including Icona Pop, Justin Timberlake, and Taylor Swift.
However, youtube-dl is not entirely used for piracy. Soon after GitHub removed the repository, several creators took to Twitter to share how they used the tool to form backups of their own content. The tool is additionally popular among internet archivists across the world.
With over 72,000 stars before getting taken down, YouTube-dl had quite huge audience and following within the open-source community. It will be interesting to ascertain if the creators of YouTube-dl manage to bring the project back to GitHub within the future.