The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has resumed its efforts about the liquidation of the popular video download tool youtube-dl. After unsuccessfully trying to download the project from GitHub, she is now following a German company that hosts its website, informs Android Police.
Youtube-dl has existed for almost as long as YouTube itself – the first version was released on August 8, 2006, a year and a half after the launch of what is probably today’s most popular video sharing platform. The free open source program gives users the ability to download videos and audio from YouTube and more than thousands of other sites.
Why (not) download from YouTube?
Users download from YouTube for a variety of reasons, such as backing up their own published videos, making copies in case the author deletes the video, and using people with a slow or unreliable network connection to download high-definition videos. The RIAA is only interested in the fact that users can use youtube-dl to download music.
In 2020, the American Recording Industry Association tried to get the project removed from GitHub with reference to the Copyright Act (DMCA), which, however, failed. He now puts forward virtually the same arguments in Germany. The goal is a small Uberspace web hosting provider that coincidentally hosts the youtube-dl homepage.
The international non-profit organization Digital Frontier Foundation (EFF), which deals with digital rights, warns that youtube-dl does not circumvent any protections and does not exist primarily for the purpose of copyright infringement. The RIAA claims the opposite in an effort to stop the project. The arguments are even more dubious than in 2020, because the website only serves to link to GitHub.
Webhosting disobeyed, the court will decide
“Maximalists in the field of copyright they just don’t know when to stop. “After failing to try to use U.S. law to force GitHub to permanently cut off access to youtube-dl based on the theory that the tool could be used for copyright infringement, music publishers turned to German courts.” states the EFF in the introduction.
Regardless of who is right, the RIAA has a lot more money than a small German company, and these cases tend to be very costly. However, if the association hoped that Uberspace would simply fold and cancel the site, it would be disappointed.
The German Civil Rights Society will help cover the legal costs, which recently issued an opinion explaining (again) that youtube-dl does not violate DRM, and therefore Uberspace cannot be forced to download the site. So we will have to wait to see how the German courts deal with the case.