GitHub has removed the ability to access youtube-dl's source code due to a DMCA request by the RIAA
... The clear purpose of this source code is to (i) circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube, and (ii) reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use. We note that the source code is described on GitHub as “a command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and a few more sites.” ...
Micah F. Lee (EFF/The Intercept @micahflee https://nitter.net/micahflee/status/1319746131723628544?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
"RIAA blitz takes down 18 GitHub projects used for downloading YouTube videos"
HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24872911
Censorship, propaganda, surveillance, and targeted manipulation are inherent characteristics of monopoly: https://joindiaspora.com/posts/7bfcf170eefc013863fa002590d8e506
RMS, "The Right to Read" (1997): https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.en.html
Remember that the RIAA is a bad-publicity-deflection cartel of its major members. These are:
Strategically / tactically, the most interesting aspect of the RIAA attack on youtube-dl to me is that it puts Microsoft on the spot to show its true colours. Is it Friend of Free Software, or Copyright Maximalist?
This isn't a DMCA takedown. It's a cease and desist letter citing the DMCA.*
The difference matters. GitHub is required to honor DMCA takedowns. Other legal requests are granted on a case by case basis.*
-- /u/telionn @ reddit
As I understand, takedown is a 17 USC 512 (copyright infringement) safe-harbour, but not a required or indemnifying protection under 17 USC 1201, anti-circumvention:
Lumen (Chilling Effects) is silent on this point in their FAQ: https://lumendatabase.org/topics/14
The ZDNet reports this is part of a larger action:
"RIAA blitz takes down 18 GitHub projects used for downloading YouTube videos"
and isn't a DMCA 512 takedown:
Although GitHub classified the RIAA letter as a DMCA takedown request, it is not one. As Public Knowledge Legal Director John Bergmayer pointed out today on Twitter, RIAA isn't alleging the library infringed on its rights, but that the library is illegal in itself.
This isn’t really a DMCA request. I don’t see an assertion that youtube-dl is an infringing work. Rather the claim is that it’s illegal per se https://t.co/vQ16nVleCf
— John Bergmayer (@bergmayer) October 23, 2020
The more I look at the RIAA's complaint, the stranger it seems.
I'm not even sure that the RIAA has standing to sue or could demonstrate injury:
See 17 USC 1203: Civil remedies: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1203
Parker Higgens (Freedom of Press) DMCA 512 vs. 1201 analysis. Crux:
By contrast, the RIAA letter is not a “takedown notice” exactly. It seems to basically assert that youtube-dl violates DMCA §1201, which regulates tools for circumventing “technical measures” controlling copyright. Here's the relevant portion of the law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1201
The RIAA’s fraudulent attack on youtube-dl is not a DMCA §512 infringement/safe-harbour, and the reality is weird
TL;DR: This is not a 17 USC 512 infringement/safe-harbour, RIAA’s standing is highly questionable, it is threatening a member for an averred nonmember’s §1201 injury, any actual works duplication is not performed by youtube-dl’s developers directly, nor is the work itself or its test suite an infringement of RIAA / members copyrights, and numerous defences exist for routine use or incidental transmission or copies made by developers, hosting services,or others. Further, youtube-dl, digital and information liberties groups, Microsoft, and Google/Youtube should fight the RIAA’s claim.
You're right, but anyone who expected anything but a reflexive takedown for a copyright request from a big corp hasn't been paying attention.
It's infinitely more convenient for these hosting corps to keel over to the first legal notice over third party content, and I think you'd gain more insight into behaviours looking at when they don't roll over vs when they do.
@polyphonic @dredmorbius there’s a way that DMCA works. the first notice, the site *has* to take the content down, regardless of its merits. then the content owner can dispute the notice as illegitimate, which in this case, it is since the code contains no copyrighted materials, and circumvention tools aren’t covered by the DMCA.
@zens False. See previous.
@dredmorbius well given that it isn’t a dmca notice and the prior distinctions. it’ll be interesting to see how microsoft responds.
though i will admit, i think the view of corporations ethical responsibilities being similar to individuals’ is naive- generally- not mentioning this as a specific criticism of anyone here.
corporations are sort of legally and ethically obliged to act like antisocial psychopaths, even when they’re made of reasonable ethical people
@zens This is precisely why the strategic aspect is so interesting.
I absolutely expect Microsoft to decide and act based on its assessment of long-term direct benefit. And that question, vis-a-vis copyright, and specifically 17 USC 1201 anti-circumvention, is very much in question.
Ethics plays a minor role.
@zens Incorrect. Safe-harbour provisions (512), which do not apply in this action (1201), would be lost in the specific action.
Q: Does a service provider have to follow the safe harbor procedures?
A: No. An ISP may choose not to follow the DMCA takedown process, and do without the safe harbor. If it would not be liable under pre-DMCA copyright law (for example, because it is not contributorily or vicariously liable, or because there is no underlying copyright infringement), it can still raise those same defenses if it is sued.
It still seems to me github has nothing to gain by resisting, whether it's a technically legal stance they can take or not.
Microsoft does not benefit from taking a stand here. Companies only care about ethics when it helps them. This is exactly what anyone looking at history should expect.
@polyphonic Microsoft claim to have staked their future on Free Software.
How believable this is can be argued, of course.
The company paid $7.4 billion for GitHub in 2018, a $5.4 billion premium over the service's 2015 valuation.
@polyphonic I believe there've been corporate challenges, though I don't have reference to any offhand.
@dredmorbius Also interesting: Given they're now arguing that YouTube is DRM, did they need to get the W3C to standardize EME?
@dredmorbius Seeing them cite DMCA 1201 against YouTube downloaders which I can watch without using EME or other plugins, leaves me questioning where the lines are being drawn on what qualifies as DRM.
I guess this highlights that DRM is really a legal construct masquarading as a technological one!
@alcinnz What is EME?
@dredmorbius "Encrypted Media Extensions", it's a somewhat recent & controversial Recommendation from the W3C that allows websites to stream audio & video through non-standard "Content Decryption Modules" (DRM) like Google Widevine & Apple Fairplay.
DRM is really a legal construct masquarading as a technological one!
Yes, this, exactly.
@dredmorbius What exactly would you expect?
@thomasfuchs The Law is an Ass.
@thomasfuchs @dredmorbius @micahflee
It is objectively bullshit. youtube-dl is not helping circumvent "effective technological measures". It can extract the links to the streams from webpages. It can not break DRM.
Anyone could find those links by opening the built-in network inspector of a browser and run ffmpeg -i <url> -map 0 -c copy stream.ts
It's clearly a case for the EFF.
It's easy to understand why they chose not to cite a finnish court ruling from 2007, who said this about a real DRM protection, CSS (DVD).
"CSS protection can no longer be considered an effective technological measure referred to in the law. A consequence of this is that the constituent elements of a misdemeanour of violating a technological measure are not fulfilled. Therefore the charge must be dismissed."
@Ertain The useful waay to do so should have both legal and economic teeth.
@dredmorbius it's a smart play going at GitHub/Microsoft. If there's no takedown the RIAA can sue (a weak suit that would likely lose, but would cost Microsoft money to defend). By taking down the repos Youtube-dl cannot sue. Github dodges any legal issue by just caving to a "good faith" speculative notice. The repos can move to a self hosted domain on any number of git platforms and we can wait for a follow up RIAA takedown that's aimed more directly at the maintainers and which can be properly defended.
On this story, I've been finding myself saying "the RIAA might have a case, but only due to a law I absolutely oppose!"
Really, I don't think we should be putting all our eggs in one basket. All our videos on YouTube. All our code on GitHub. If you're worried about this take down, moving off GitHub & YouTube is probably the best thing you can do!
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