GitHub reinstates YouTube-dl video downloader after RIAA criticism
GitHub has reinstated an open-source software for downloading YouTube movies, and it’s modified its insurance policies to make comparable copyright-related takedowns much less probably. Yesterday, the Microsoft-owned software program repository reversed its removing of YouTube-dl, which lets customers save native copies of streaming movies from YouTube and lots of different websites.
The Recording Business Affiliation of America (RIAA) demanded that GitHub take away YouTube-dl in late October. It alleged that the software “was designed and is marketed” for illegally saving copyrighted music, violating Part 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. GitHub initially agreed, however its determination drew criticism from journalists and software program builders. As TechDirt chronicled, YouTube-dl is effective for reporters documenting content material that could be flagged for removing, and the Digital Frontier Basis says that it’s precious for educators and other people whose web connections aren’t steady sufficient to stream video.
GitHub discovered these arguments compelling. “Though we did initially take the mission down, we perceive that simply because code can be utilized to entry copyrighted works doesn’t imply it could’t even be used to entry works in non-infringing methods,” writes platform coverage director Abby Vollmer. Vollmer notes that YouTube-dl’s builders additionally patched their software program to take away references to copyrighted works. “Once we see it’s potential to switch a mission to take away allegedly infringing content material, we give the homeowners an opportunity to repair issues earlier than we take content material down.”
GitHub is legally certain to comply with Part 1201, which bans instruments meant to avoid copy protections. However there are additionally a number of authorized exceptions to Part 1201, together with breaking copy safety for academic use and accessibility functions. And following the incident with YouTube-dl, GitHub is formalizing a coverage to judge complaints. “Each single credible 1201 takedown declare can be reviewed by technical specialists” and authorized specialists, writes Vollmer. It’s additionally establishing and donating $1 million to a developer protection fund for open-source builders who wish to problem complaints.
However Vollmer inspired adjustments to Part 1201 itself — a transfer supported by many copyright reform advocates. “It doesn’t matter what we do to guard developer rights, we nonetheless should work throughout the boundaries of the regulation,” she writes.
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