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The End of ProTube 2 (jonasgessner.com)
142 points by cdransf on Sept 4, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 115 comments



> They basically wanted me to remove every feature that made ProTube what it is – that includes the player itself that allows you to play 60fps videos, background playback, audio only mode and more.

> background playback, audio only mode

https://developers.google.com/youtube/terms/developer-polici...

> You and your API Clients must not, and must not encourage, enable, or require others to:

> separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available as part of, or in connection with, YouTube API Services.

> promote separately the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available as part of, or in connection with, the YouTube API Services;

> create, include, or promote features that play content, including audio or video components, from a background player, meaning a player that is not displayed in the page, tab, or screen that the user is viewing;

The author blatantly violated YouTube's developer policies then complained that YouTube was upset? Why the victim complex? What did he expect? He's lucky they didn't choose to go down the lawsuit route instead.

This doesn't seem like an arbitrary policy either. If he's playing the video where the user can't see it, the user can't see ads. If the user can't see ads, the video creator doesn't get paid.


> The author blatantly violated YouTube's developer policies

Well duh, but those policies only exist because YT is trying to sell those features.

> He's lucky they didn't choose to go down the lawsuit route instead.

Lucky? It's a toss-up whether policies like this are actually enforceable. Most likely all they'd be able to do is block the devs access.

I'll take this as my stance on this matter: a user or program should be allowed to do anything they choose with the bits they receive. They can alter, modify, ignore, strip, or save any part of it.

This app operates in the same area as ad blockers. Would you argue that uBlock should be taken down because YT wrote a policy demanding that browser software must not 'enable or encourage' the blocking of ads.


> Lucky? It's a toss-up whether policies like this are actually enforceable. Most likely all they'd be able to do is block the devs access.

He consented to a contract, violated it and caused actual damages (loss of ad revenue, profiting from copyright infringement). Given that he displayed content in violation of the license he was given and made money from it, it could even be a criminal copyright infringement case.

> This app operates in the same area as ad blockers. Would you argue that uBlock should be taken down because YT wrote a policy demanding that browser software must not 'enable or encourage' the blocking of ads.

The uBlock developer doesn't profit and didn't agree to anything.

> I'll take this as my stance on this matter: a user or program should be allowed to do anything they choose with the bits they receive. They can alter, modify, ignore, strip, or save any part of it.

A stance like this is how you get DRM and ads baked into the video stream. Would you honestly prefer we get into an arms race with YouTube? With DRM the way it is today, I'm not sure that's a battle we can win. Head down this path and we'll have DRM and eye tracking to make _really_ sure we're watching ads before we play a video.


I'm not sure where the copyright angle is coming from. YT doesn't own the copyright of the videos they host. The best YT could hope for is a ToS violation which is pretty toothless.

> The uBlock developer doesn't profit and didn't agree to anything.

So if the app was Free and FOSS would it be okay? Hopefully so since youtube-dl exists.

> A stance like this is how you get DRM and ads baked into the video stream. Would you honestly prefer we get into an arms race with YouTube?

Right, but in your alternate universe you are legally bound to view the ads and still have all the restrictions of DRM. It's really no different but without any possiblity of circumventing it. Nothing really changes.


> I'm not sure where the copyright angle is coming from. YT doesn't own the copyright of the videos they host. The best YT could hope for is a ToS violation which is pretty toothless.

The developer is displaying copyrighted content. YouTube doesn't own the copyright but it does hold a sublicensable license, which is how the developer could legitimately develop a YouTube app. By violating the developer agreement from YouTube, the developer is breaching any copyright license he may have had. By selling the app commercially, he's also potentially doing so criminally. There's also the CFAA which I forgot at the time.

> So if the app was Free and FOSS would it be okay? Hopefully so since youtube-dl exists.

If the app was free and didn't utilize the API, then yes, it'd be in the same space as youtube-dl.

> It's really no different but without any possiblity of circumventing it. Nothing really changes.

What changes is that as users, we're forced to let invasive technologies into our lives in order to consume content.


> Sublicenses

I'm sure this could be the case but I'm not convinced that their license to the content would be so specific as to require the delivery of the content video/audio together, or must be played in the foreground. Especially since it would require all of the content be relicensed every time they change their policies. And especially since YT themselves can ignore these rules.

Also, we all know that the CFAA is both bullshit and makes basically everything illegal. It has no place in any discussion like this.

> What changes is that as users, we're forced to let invasive technologies into our lives in order to consume content.

Sure, but you've just traded invasive technologies for invasive legal requirements. But your world is basically the case right now and we have DRM and plenty of ad blocking circumvention measures so I'm not convinced it would help.


> I'm sure this could be the case but I'm not convinced that their license to the content would be so specific as to require the delivery of the content video/audio together, or must be played in the foreground.

The license a creator gives to YouTube might not require that YouTube delivers audio and video together (it clearly doesn't for YouTube Red) but the license YouTube gives developers definitely does, as pointed out above. Plus, if the video isn't played in the foreground, people don't see ads and creators don't get paid. If there isn't an explicit agreement preventing it, it'd certainly cause conflict if YouTube were found to be allowing it.

> Especially since it would require all of the content be relicensed every time they change their policies.

They've done it in the past, when they introduced YouTube Red for example: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2015/01/23/youtube-removing...

> Sure, but you've just traded invasive technologies for invasive legal requirements.

Legal requirements are soft and barely enforceable on end users. I'll take those over technological solutions.


> I'm sure this could be the case but I'm not convinced that their license to the content would be so specific as to require the delivery of the content video/audio together, or must be played in the foreground.

Oh, it is. Licensing is extremely complex, detailing the medium, format, geography, etc. that you can use it on. A license for video doesn't give you any right to stream audio, and vice-versa.

Content licensing agreements are insane, with a nearly-infinite number of restrictions.


> I'm sure this could be the case but I'm not convinced that their license to the content would be so specific as to require the delivery of the content video/audio together, or must be played in the foreground.

Their music licenses absolutely definitely do, unless it's a paid subscription service.

The music labels do not want anyone to be able to build something that might be a free competitor to Spotify. So you may only implement listening to anything you want (as opposed to a random playlist such as Pandora or iTunes Radio) if the service is a paid subscription one, probably with a minimum price point similar to Spotify, or if it cannot play audio in the background with the screen off on mobile.

Licensing is a patchwork, so there's the odd exception missed, or from a VERY old deal, but that's essentially the market if you want to license music.


> YT doesn't own the copyright of the videos they host. The best YT could hope for is a ToS violation which is pretty toothless.

They own distribution rights. I haven't looked at the contract to see what that covers specifically, but typically it would not allow the same degree of rights as original ownership, though it would include more rights than normal end user purchases.

This can have some interesting loopholes which is how my aunt used to have a library of "screener" videos but that's another story...

> in your alternate universe you are legally bound [...]

Yes, you are legally bound to follow legal agreements. The repetitive wording should be a clue as to how iron clad that is, logically at least (even if hard to enforce).


Eye tracking is surely coming regardless


Lets put paranoia aside for a moment, how would this even be feasible? Firstly the browser has to ask permission to use the camera

Hey maybe you're the one in a million that uploads videos direct through webcam so they have that permission anyway - Would people really be ok with sitting there as their webcam light flickers on and off to make sure they're watching adverts? No, they would not. Literally any rival tube site could milk the heck out of that to start pulling people away from YouTube. I'd put money on seeing people vlogging on an adult tube site before we see eyeball tracking on YouTube.

Besides all that you could just unplug your webcam..


Oh, you say that now...

460p unless you meet the hardware and software requirements.

Eye tracking hardware and HDCP 4.0 display, and Windows 10 Securibility Update or MacOS Himalaya.

iOS 10 or Android Sherbet.

On MacOS and iOS that's Safari with iEye permissions granted for YouTube.com, or Chrome on MacOS with GoggleEye enabled.

On Windows, it's Edge with Windows Accessibility and Optics (WAaO), or Chrome with GoggleEye.

Android is Chrome with GoggleEye.

Or the official iOS, Android or Win 10 apps.

Coming 2019. Maybe.


Trips up at the first hurdle - 460p unless you meet the hardware and software requirements

That's a sinking ship. That's the sort of thing that allows Facebook into the world despite MySpace already existing. The sort of thing that allows Google to elbow its way into the #1 spot past the Altavistas, Hotbots and the Jeeves. A new site would come out of nowhere that doesn't have that restriction.


460p is a low bar but these restrictions already exist on current services.

Netflix: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23742 - 720p on Chrome and Firefox, 1080p on IE and Safari and 4K requires Microsoft Edge, a HDCP2.2 display, a 7th generation Intel Core CPU and Windows updates.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=... - You can do 1080p on pretty much any browser but 4K requires a 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV and a HDCP2.2 display.


There is a big difference between restricting to standard definition and high definition though. Many people now have devices that will show the difference between low and high definition, not as many have 4K capabilities.

In the future these values will go up of course, but the difference between restricting HD users to SD and 4K users to HD is quite different.


I wasn't being entirely serious, and apologies if I didn't make that clear.

That said, YouTube have foisted some odious crap (cough random unsubscibe cough Google+ cough Takedown bullshit cough) on creators and subscribers, and yet here we are. Still using YouTube.

The cost of starting and acquiring users for and running a viable YouTube alternative is just too damn high. Unless Amazon do it, it's not happening. Vimeo is an also-ran despite.

People would just upgrade their shit and/or fall in line, or suffer shitty quality.


> a user or program should be allowed to do anything they choose with the bits they receive. They can alter, modify, ignore, strip, or save any part of it.

Regardless of your position on whether the law is right or wrong, this is not true as a matter of law.

Depending on the pertinent applicable law, your ability to transform these bits may be restricted based on IP law or contract law.


Maybe, but we'll never find out if Apple just removes the software and it never goes to litigation...


> Well duh, but those policies only exist because YT is trying to sell those features.

See, I could get behind this argument if I could actually buy those features - but because I'm not in the US, I can't. YouTube Red has looked like the same speck on the horizon as it has for the past 3 years in the UK now, and as far as I know, absolutely nothing has been said about when it'll arrive here.

I would like nothing more than to pay for this functionality, after being given a trial of YouTube Music Key (back before it was called Red) well over 3 years ago at this point, I want reasonably priced access to Red original content, I want background and audio-only play on my phone. Hell, I might even use the download video feature, who knows? Well it's sure as hell not me, because I don't even have access to it.


> a user or program should be allowed to do anything they choose with the bits they receive. They can alter, modify, ignore, strip, or save any part of it.

If you sign a NDA with Coca-Cola, and they share their recipe with you via email, you're allowed to do "anything you choose" with it?

If you sign a partnership contract with Google, and they share their algorithms with you, you're allowed to do "anything you choose" with it?

Where's the line exactly of how far you can violate a contract simply because the property - intellectual and otherwise, can be represented as bits?


Obviously, when you're selling proprietary information. A service should have no right to enforce reinterpretation of the bits received any more than you have a right to enforce how people are to interpret the semantic content of your posts. (And in fact, I could easily go around selling my reinterpretation, and that only becomes a problem once you're arguing damages.)


Yes, financial damages is what happens when you "reinterpret" bits against contractual agreements.


> Well duh, but those policies only exist because YT is trying to sell those features.

That's totally within their rights as a business, is it not?


And this should be policed by Apple on Googles behalf, rather than potentially litigated in court?

That's the main question in my mind. The functionality could all be implemented without access to the developer API.

I think users have a legal right to use Ad blockers, but in this case it can't even be tested, because Apple decided to police their AppStore, against users interests.

I'm by no means anti-Apple. I prefer their ecosystem to Android, and feel it is less driven by advertising. But this feels like an anti-user move.


It's a paid app facilitating breach of contract at the least and possibly facilitating copyright infringement and a breach of the CFAA. And Apple takes a cut and therefore has legal liability for distributing it.


Could you clarify?

If I'm using YouTube without signing in, which contract is being breached?

The existence of YouTube facilitates breach of copyright doesn't it? I don't understand which copyright is being infringed by rendering without Ads.

I guess the "Apple takes a cut" bit is where their liability comes from. But... I'm not really clear that any law is being broken here...

I'm not sure how this is a breach of the CFAA, in particular given that scraping content (in light of recent LinkedIn case) seems to be fine. And there doesn't seem to be much of a case against adblockers in general.


> Could you clarify?

The developer is using the YouTube API, which has terms which the developer agreed to. He is breaching those terms.

> If I'm using YouTube without signing in, which contract is being breached?

You're not breaching any terms. This isn't equivalent because the developer is using the API, which has terms he agreed to.

> I don't understand which copyright is being infringed by rendering without Ads.

The only license the developer has to display the copyrighted material uploaded to YouTube is the license YouTube grants him, which, per the API terms, requires him to show audio and video together. By violating the terms of his license, he's infringing on the content owners' copyrights.


Ok, this is reasonable.

However, it doesn't seem to be the central issue to me. The app could be rewritten to use the public (possibly undocumented) interface, that we all use on the web.

But it seems like issues would still exist then? Seems like Apple would still remove the app. Or is that not the case?


Wonder how MyTube is able to tackle this.


The author expects Google to pay for the storage and bandwidth cost, while the author monetizes that with no revenue sharing?

Not only that, the author also refused to release the app for free on Cydia:

> Some people might suggest that I re-release ProTube 2 on Cydia. Few people even have jailbroken devices anymore and only a fraction of my user base would be able to access Cydia. Purchases from the App Store also can't be carried over to Cydia so people would have to purchase the app again. And YouTube might still come after me.

If the author refuses to give it the app for free, why does he/she expects Google to do the same?

And it goes beyond that: none of the money the author makes by stealing traffic from YT goes to the creators. Zero. The author is defunding both the creators and YT while making money for him/herself.

If ProTube was free/oss, I could see some valid points behind it, but the creator is actually making money on that copyrighted content.

Seriously, why would anyone have any reasonable expectations of a different outcome?


> If the author refuses to give it the app for free, why does he/she expects Google to do the same?

Enough said.

Would this app be open-source and google would've shut it down - completely different story. But in this case it's just business, nothing personal. I don't get why OP is so angry.


Maybe Google/creators need a new business model that doesn't depend on adverts?

Your argument is essentially the same one against Adblockers in general.


Isn't that what they're doing with the YouTube Red thing?


Which does not exist for most users. Unless you live in a handful of countries it does not exist.


If you can obtain YouTube Red functionality by using an Adblocker, it may not work as a business model...


Youtube Red features: 1) offline viewing. 2) no ads. 3) original programming. 4) background audio-only playing. 5) Google Play Music subscription.


6) Works with Chromecast Audio. Yes, the "normal" Youtube doesn't.


As much as it sucks for the author, if you're providing a service or app on top of another service (like providing a better way to browse a website's content or API) you're really at the mercy of that service provider, especially if you've registered to use their API. If they want to squash your service/app, they can either just revoke your API access, or just find some violation of their TOS, or just create one with a TOS update. Then they can report you to the respective app store (App Store, Google Play Store) and most likely get it removed. Without looking at the Youtube TOS, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a section that explicitly disallows paid apps besides Youtube's, probably to prevent competitors for their Youtube Red app.

Although I wouldn't have bought it since the plain Youtube app is fine for me, it looks like he put a lot of work and soul into the app, and I feel for him. I also appreciate the level headedness of the statement, explaining the situation without much vitriol, although I'm surprised he doesn't mention anything about one of the issues Google likely had, which was ad-blocking (see edit below). Good luck to him on his next project.

Edit: It looks like the author of the app likely got in a lot of trouble with Google for not having ads when playing videos, on top of the other issues, a commenter below points out. I think it's a little disingenuous of the author to not put this in his statement as I'm sure Google wasn't happy about it (and probably said so in the emails) and it's likely another violation of the TOS (and I'm surprised they haven't pulled/didn't pull API access). What I said still stands, but he should be more direct about the issues that Google had.


You're missing the main issue here, that service he provides is an an adblocker along with other Red features. Google ProTube and every review spells it out. "ProTube as an ad blocker for YouTube"..."It's an alternative to paying for YouTube Red"..."ProTube also supports audio playback while you work in another app, which the YouTube app doesn't do without a YouTube Red subscription"[1]

Seems clear to me, this is a way of cheating Google out of their Red subscription fee or their standard ad revenue.

I'm really don't get the outpouring of sympathy here. He's essentially pirating their Red service and charging a fee for it.

[1] https://www.macstories.net/reviews/protube-review/


To be fair: there is no YouTube Red in Germany yet and the author is German. So he couldn't pay YouTube even if he wanted to.


You're right, and I updated by comment.


It's not cheating, you should have the right to render content as you see fit. That includes using Adblockers on the web and elsewhere.

I don't think they really need to use the developer API to implement any of the functionality used. And I don't understand why it's Apples job to police their ecosystem in Googles favor. Seems like an anti-user move on Apples part.


It's because if an author makes an app that goes against Youtube's TOS, if Apple doesn't take action, then Apple is liable for it. Apple isn't actively policing it, as well, it's more that Google requested it be taken down.


This is an argument against the authoritarian character of the Apple App Store and by extension it's operating system that doesn't allow you to use anything else. Does anybody actually like having a walled off heavily regulated user experience after they've spent so much money on a device?

Or are people still just pretending they do. Without having even so much as the option of installing a third party application without going through the Apple App Store. Seems like stretching it, nobody can like that.

He should be able to sell the App standalone. There is no technical reason why not, it's a political one from Apple to artificially limit this functionality. They spent money making sure you couldn't do it.


Not exactly your argument, but I much prefer the App Store to something like Google's Play Store. App Store, even though it has its issues, is a lot better simply because there is more oversight. There have been numerous cases where malware has gotten into Play Store apps, and only taken down once someone tells Google, instead of Google actually doing their due diligence as arbiters of the Play Store and verify each app before allowing it to publish. Apple does actually verify each app, and consequences aside this means I don't really have to worry about malware issues.

It would be nice if I could install something on my own, e.g. side-load an app, but I haven't come across an app that I've seemingly needed that for. I think the fact that you can only go through the App Store also keeps things consistent for the consumer, so they don't wonder why they sometimes have to install it using iTunes, sometimes through the App Store. Of course there's also the economics of Apple's 30% cut of App Store app purchases.


The apple app store doesn't prevent malware either. Reviews are done by just using the app and running an automated program on it.

If you turn off your malware features during review time, then it wont be caught. There is a good chance your malware behavior wouldn't be caught even if they were on.

After you've released the app, it's up to users to report the bad behavior to apple.

Also the OS is far more locked down than android and devices are frequently updated, which limits what malware can do.


At risk of raining on your parade a bit, the underlying complaint was from Google, not Apple. ("This comes after multiple requests and threats by YouTube which ultimately led Apple to suddenly pulling the app from the App Store.") You're trying to make this all about Apple and the Walled Garden™, but the story as described by ProTube's author is rather more complicated than that. In an alternate universe where Apple let people sideload applications, the outcome isn't "ProTube 2 keeps being sold and everyone is happy," the outcome is "Google sues ProTube 2's creator into destitution."

And, you know, while I'd like to see Apple allow sideloading of signed apps (I think in the long run it's essential if they're serious about making iOS a general purpose computing platform), it's just a bit on the presumptuous side to assert that all iOS users must surely be chafing under the heavy heel of Apple's Evil Draconian Rule. The number of application classes that aren't allowed on the App Store is, in practice, pretty small--it's just that developers and other Hacker News fans are more likely to want/need apps that do run afoul of those restrictions. Even so, the amount of stuff I can do right now with apps installed from the Evil Draconian App Store™ would probably surprise you.


It is about Apple, because they're policing their ecosystem on behalf of Google, rather than letting it be litigated in court.

I doubt this is massively different under flag-ship Android devices though. Mobile phones currently suck in this regard.


Who should be litigated against in this case, the author or Apple?


It should rater be thought as if Apple take down wget or curl for it isn't the appropriate "app" for a particular web site.

This happens because they depended on the proprietary closed lock-in platform. They totally deserve it.

Avoid those platform which doesn't respect your freedom.


-- Posted from Debian Phone


-- Posted from cuneiform tablet


If you use closed platforms tightly controlled by large companies, it's not surprising that things like this will happen.

Meanwhile, on my desktop I use a downloader script that continues to work flawlessly for some of those usecases described in the article; it doesn't use the "official API", but mimics what a browser would do, so YouTube would have to stop working in the browser to stop that from working.


Yet on Google's own platform, NewPipe, OGYoutube, SkyTube, etc all exist mainly because 3rd party installations on Android rely solely on an "allow installations from non-Market sources" checkbox.

Quite worrisome that they've simply given up because people have so little control over their own devices on Apple's platform now.


That's because the amount of control Google has over Android is far less than Apple and iOS, and it's been said many times, for better or worse, that the policing of their own Play Store is still rather lax. But given the way things are going, and Google's own desire to emulate Apple, I only expect things to get worse for freedom on mobile devices in the future.


Android or Google's control of it has nothing to do with this whatsoever. As soon as Google detects a third party YouTube app exceeding its allowed API usage quotas it can shut it down anytime it likes.


It's a bit more subtle than that. Newpipe and youtube-dl don't use the youtube api. They emulate browser behaviour AFAIK. That's probably the biggest reason they haven't received some form of a letter in general. That they won't be allowed on google's own store is actually not that interesting. The fact that newpipe managed to make a more functional app in a lot of ways than the official youtube app (and I don't mean just the RED functionality) without using the youtube API is quite commendable.


Can you put it on GitHub? :)


You should try also Youtube-dl - amazing piece of kit :)


As I do not include Python in my system images I wrote a very reliable youtube download script that uses only sh, sed and an http client, where http client is fetch, ftp, curl, wget, or some similar program. Currently it is at 1205 characters, or 1205 bytes. No "developer API" needed.


youtube-dl is the best media download suite I've seen. It worked for any video hosting site I've ever pointed it at, and it even has options to use ffmpeg to recode the video or extract the audio track. In addition, NewPipe also does a similar thing (it's a free software Android app that has much more features than the official app -- such as playing in the background and as an overlaid tile).


The fact that it has a built-in switch for extracting the sound from a video to MP3 has made my library very happy.


Have you tried youtube-dl? I've found that it works great.

[1] https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/


It already is ;-)

(See the sibling comments.)


Wow, if this was any other company this guy would have just been sued. I don't really have a problem with the guy scraping and using other techniques to get around playing ads and other restrictions. But then he turns around and sells it, and then acts like Google is behaving unfairly by shutting him down... what a class act. I find it hard to have any sympathy for this guy.


It would have been better if they were sued. Why should we have Apple policing their ecosystem on Googles behalf?


Because Apple wants to send a message to app creators of original content that Apple has their back. In this case it was Goliath vs. David, but is probably just as often the reverse in terms of parties' sizes.


I like how this person brags about how successful his app was and how it hit #1 in 10 countries, but neglects to mention how he was continually violating YouTube's terms of service all the while.

Here's my favorite part:

YouTube wants to sell its $10/month subscription service which offers many features that ProTube also offered for a lower one time price, so they started hunting down 3rd party YouTube apps on the App Store.

It's their service so they can charge whatever they want for it because they actually pay the bills to keep the service up and running. What's not okay is for you to sell an app to customers that, you clearly knew, violated YouTube's TOS and was subject to takedown at anytime.


Yes, he's at the mercy of YouTube since he's building on the platform in violation of its ToS.

But as a consumer, you can use the youtube-dl script (https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/) along with mpv (https://mpv.io/) to play YouTube videos as you wish. Example:

    mpv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

    mpv --no-video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

    mpv <pretty much any video / streaming site in existence>
Both packages are available in your nearest package manager, i.e. brew for MacOS, MSYS2 for Windows, etc.


I never knew about ProTube, but since YouTube disabled playing videos in background even on Safari/Chrome it's been very annoying. I used to love listening to long format shows/audio in the background. It's still possible, albeit likely not as good as the ProTube app seemed to be, you just have to load up Youtube and request for the desktop site. The site switches from mobile to desktop and becomes a real pain to use but hey I can play videos in the background again.

It's pretty lame of YouTube to do, especially since I can't even buy the paid service if I wanted to (I live in Canada).


> It's pretty lame of YouTube to do, especially since I can't even buy the paid service if I wanted to (I live in Canada).

They don't have the license to do so. Streaming audio requires a different license than streaming video.


YouTube can't stop me minimizing my browser window on the desktop and nobody is accusing them of violating any licenses for failing to prevent me from doing that, so why is mobile different? Just because they have the technical ability to tell the difference?


That's not how licensing rights work. Just because you think it is the same, doesn't mean that lawyers will think that.


Youtube (in EU at least) has changed recently to make it much harder to play stuff in the background. (use case, full-album audio listening with the screen off) Ads now will interrupt the stream, and it won't continue till it's in the foreground, or there's a click.


Hold the phone. While there are types of copyrighted content uploaded to YouTube that definitely meet this (like copyrighted TV shows or music), there are an equal if not greater number of videos that are either unmonetized or that contain no content that's copyrighted. All users who upload videos comply with this:

> However, by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and YouTube's (and its successors' and affiliates') business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

"in any media formats and through any media channels" certainly covers audio only.


The feeling was just that they pulled the rug away on another feature and didn't provide a solution. Periscope is brutal for this too, I want to listen with the lock screen on in my pocket but that's not happening..


You can still (and will most likely be able forever) play audio in the background on Safari for iOS by intercepting the calls to the JS Page Visibility API with a scriptlet.


When depending upon a 3rd party content in violation of their TOS, it's bound to happen & especially when it's monetised.

It's the users who are really getting screwed, probably many of them still don't know the difference between official app and an 3rd party app. The users are of grave risk under such conditions, where if a 3rd party app developer of a famous service decides to sell the app to someone; they could easily pish the unsuspecting user's login credentials.

In this case, the developer took the right call to bring down the app. I hope his future endeavours are just as successful without using 3rd party content.


Censorship, monetization algo changes, dark ux patterns, buying whitelist space on adblockers, political bias coded directly into search algo...

I do hope the future holds something better for the consumer than YouTube


Unfortunately, most industries on the internet are winner-take-all due to the network effect. Without significant government intervention, which comes with its own problems if done poorly, monopolies on the internet are nearly inevitable.


I would love a regulation for companies that they must make all user contributed data freely available for everyone. This way YouTube (and Facebook and Twitter and...) would not be a data silo but just one of many access portals to that data.

I know this is a question of values, of what is considered "just". But for me it would feel fair if all the 20k reviews of the nearby mall on Google maps would not be Google's property but belong to everyone, since many many people contributed to it out of goodwill.


Bitchute looks like a good up and coming contender. The UI is similar to YouTube, but the content is distributed using WebTorrent.


Maybe they'll add a dash in their name a la expertsexchange...


ProTube actually got me using YouTube on a regular basis and became part of my nightly routine - I subscribed to channels, occasionally commented, made playlists... I even started using the (terrible) YouTube app on the Apple TV from time to time. Boy is it bad!

Before ProTube, I only watched YouTube content when it was embedded in sites I was browsing. Hopefully the current version works long enough for me to figure out a replacement (either for the app or for YouTube itself.)


It looks like, as long as the app can use the API, it'll stay updated for iOS 11 (the author states he updated it as soon as he could), and so it'll likely function for a while.


Yeah, I'm using it on iOS 11 and it works great (although I don't love the new native video UI Apple is going with) - my concern is that YT will be dicks and kill access through the API. I sure hope not.


> YT will be dicks and kill access through the API

how is that dickish ? They seem pretty gracious right now to have let the API key work for so long while it breaks half their TOS.


In my experience, all of the AppleTV apps suck, but YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu are the most egregious. I suspect they're all required to use the same alien design specification.


Same thing happened with my app, Streamus, a few years ago.

https://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/07/21/how-youtube-killed...

It's not a surprising outcome, but still unfortunate for both YouTube and consumers.


"Interesting" faked whois data on the domain:

> Registrant Name: Jonas Gessner

> Registrant Street: Infinite Loop 1

> Registrant City: Cupertino

> Registrant Postal Code: 95014

> Registrant Country: US

> Registrant Phone: +14.089961010


So not only do they break YouTube tos but they violate icann rules too? Nice.

https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/ra-agreement-2009-05-2...


Bit of a shame, I understand the reasoning, but I also understand how poor the existing YouTube app is to this day.

I'd be happy with ads, I'd be happy with not being able to download videos, I just wanted to get videos from channels I'd subscribed to and multitask with iOS' native PiP and ProTube let me do that.


Simple Googling revealed this:

https://github.com/pieter/YoutubeDL-iOS

Anyone can sideload without mercy of Apple, uses infamous youtube-dl. Might try later tonight.

Would love author to open source his code or contribute to above mentioned project.


Don't build on someone else's platform unless you have a ripcord. :/


The platform here is the internet. YouTube is trying to say you can't write custom software that accesses their publicly accessible service.

ProTube is nothing more than an alternative user agent that users are choosing to use to interact with the youtube.com service.

They should shut down the public youtube.com service if they don't want people to access it in ways that are reasonably fair use.


No, ProTube used the YouTube API and repeatedly violated the terms of service, which he legally agreed to, and then charged customers for an app that he knew was in clear violation and subject to termination.


Why does he have to agree to the ToS to use the public API?

Would it have been okay if he didn't use the API but accessed the same functionality just like you can with a web browser?


He requested an API key, that's not exactly "public" like you think it it and is subject to the TOS he agreed to.


So, the reason you're not putting it on Cydia is because not many people are going to buy it? Ok.

The argument that people will have to buy it again to access it makes no sense, it doesn't matter.


1. YouTube built their business on other people's content. Just like LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, etc.

Aren't we, as the public, entitled to access the data that we, the collective public, have contributed?

How many people that uploaded content want to prevent others from privately enjoying it?

2. A federal judge recently ruled that LinkedIn couldn't block a service that was scraping their service. That scraping costs LinkedIn some measurable amount of money, but I personally think that should be a burden they're required to bear.

If they don't want that burden, let them shut down the service and allow a new service or technology to replace it.


> How many people that uploaded content want to prevent others from privately enjoying it?

I thought it was possible for uploaded to turn off the monetization, and then ads won't be shown on that video.

Source: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/94522?hl=en


Is YouTube stopping people from scraping their site?


I guess that's my question.


Would you mind giving access to the source, so that advanced users can still compile and install their own binary? Happy to pay for it.


What's so frustrating about this is that yourube does not even sell red here. I cannot pay for what protube enabled.


Unless you use VPN, but this could be a pain.


Can I buy and install Protube on my iphone without using the app store?


"Do no evil" -- unless it affects the bottom line, of course!


Well that sucks. I never used ProTube but it looks like it was a great app.


This is fucked up. I really liked the app. No google, I dont want to pay you 10 usd monthly so that I can listen to music on your app when it's in the background.


No RIAA, I dont want to pay you 10 usd monthly so that I can listen to music on your app when it's in the background.

There, I fixed that for you.


Not everyone uses YouTube to listen to music in the background. I want to listen to podcasts or just listen to videos distributed by casual content creators in the background - they're not forcing me to get YouTube Red, YouTube is. Which is fair, because it's their platform, but to blame it on RIAA is wrong.


If you are fine with sideloading apps, NewPipe is a free software YouTube client app that supports that and many other features.


Welp, thanks YouTube, you're ruining everything I like about it. This is right up there with Twitter api tokens. Next anyone uploaded content deemed not advertiser friendly will be banned. Say goodbye to H3H3, and hello to only Casey Neistat. Death by a thousand cuts.

Everyone saying "this is why you don't build your business on someone else's X" yeah, we get that, but 3rd parties don't always have to do this.




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