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YouTube-mp3 agrees to shut down (completemusicupdate.com)
121 points by walterbell 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments

This is getting very weird. Using youtube-dl: Probably ilegal, but no one cares because you need basic technical skills and it's very dificult to chase people who use it. Using an add blocker during streaming: Very likely ok until people also start getting arrested for going to pee during tv comercials. Using youtube or spotify in a public place: This one makes peoples brains hurt, let's not even consider it.

In the middle of all this how much are the artists getting for the streamings? how popular must one be for getting more than a cup of coffee worth of royalties each month?

If authors are not making that much money do the copyright laws make any objective sense? Since after all they were created first and foremost to protect them. If they are not protected than music be free/libre because of the cultural value it has for humanity.

Before we had the technological ability to record music, musicians made their money by performing live. Then, when the radio came around, artists would perform live on the radio. I think that ultimately, this is what we may be going back to, at least in part. The record industry used to say that mp3 and downloading would be the end of music. What I think they don't realize is that music is as old as humanity.

> music is as old as humanity.

but only recently has music been a huge money maker. It changes things when an art becomes a business with profit motives.

Are there any other examples of a medium making this transition?

Storytelling, and narratives.

Though, I suppose either music or storytelling may have been relatively more important, and larger percentage of the total activity of pre-historic human groups, than those 'industries' are for us today.

Theatre companies made their money by performing live too, and people would go to the rehearsals, copy the script, and rip them off by premiering the act before them. Hence the introduction of copyright law, which predates automatic recording by a couple centuries.

Ah, what? I don't know what you've been reading, but the Statute of Anne is commonly held to be the first "copyright" law, and it covers the monopoly rights of printing press operators. Copyright in the US today still does not cover performances, only fixed works.

That doesn't contradict the previous statement, if copyright is understood to apply to the script rather than the performance.

It contradicts that it was done to protect the authors of these plays. The motivation behind the Statute of Anne had nothing to due with playwrights.

One of the over-the-air TV channels in Los Angeles seems to be run off a YouTube playlist, which I know because it was stuck displaying the video unavailable message for most of last Saturday.

Over-the-air TV channels fascinate me as their operation is very different across the US. Do you remember which one it was? Genuinely curious as I have been working on some programs to showcase the unique over-the-air broadcasts across the US.

I'm going to guess it was one of the many foreign language channels. In that area of the country, the vast vast majority of over-the-air broadcasts are not in English (think Korean soap operas). When grapeshot described it, I was thinking one of the Vietnamese or Turkish soap operas being piped from Youtube directly into a transmitter and broadcast across southern California. I'm interested to know which station, too!

It was the second channel on a multiplex owned by a church, normally it's showing educational programs for kids.

That was my guess too, but I have seen some local syndicates for NBC/ABC/CBS/FOX etc. that have some low quality productions. It wouldn't even surprise me if some of those use a similar technique.

> Using youtube or spotify in a public place: This one makes peoples brains hurt, let's not even consider it.

I thought this one was the easiest to answer but that might just be because it's a problem I've faced.

Essentially it's a public performance. Just like bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc that play music from a CD or iTunes; or even businesses with hold music on their phone lines; if you want to play copyrighted music publicly then you need a licence eg PRS (UK).

I think there was one argument about whether mobile phone ringtones were legal or not because of this rule. I'm not sure if that was just a thought experiment or if it was a case that one party tried to take to court but I'm sure someone else on here will recall the story.

ASCAP sued Verizon, claiming that ringtones are equivalent to public performances. They lost.


I finding it funny that this is the case for music but not for images.

Unless it is?

It may be my ignorance, but how would using youtube-dl be illegal?

I can definitely see it being against ToS or some EULA, but IIRC those aren't legally enforceable and would be a civil case, anyway (i.e. not an actual crime).

I think it's unauthorized copying, which is copyright infringement. Infringement is usually a civil matter, but if it's done for profit or on "commercial scale" it can become criminal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#Crimina... So I think individuals using youtube-dl wouldn't have to worry about it as much as the operators of the youtube-mp3 site would, just because of the difference in scale.

I don't know anything about law, but here is my simple thought on the matter:

If your server responds to my request and gives a copy to me, how can I be doing anything illegal?

There probably isn't a law which says that I have to use Chrome to access YouTube. IMO, youtube-dl is just another browser (albeit a very specialized one).

Also, I wonder what would eventually happen if we started making specialized browsers that first send a "EULA"? It would say something like "By responding to this request, you agree that I am authorized to receive a copy of whatever you send to me..." I guess it would work for a while before big sites started blocking your requests, but there's nothing to say that each EULA has to be standardized or easy to recognize (kinda like how big sites bury the EULA/TOS in fine print).

I think it's really the time to bring out the classic - "What Colour are your bits?"[0].

This, IMO, should be a required reading for anyone participating in the discussion on copyright. The crux of the issue is that law does not operate in the same reality computers (or, for that matter, physical reality) do. Unlike bits, it recognizes the cause-and-effect history of things, so e.g. one file can be illegal while other is perfectly fine, even if those files are bit-for-bit identical.


[0] - http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/entry/23.

> If your server responds to my request and gives a copy to me, how can I be doing anything illegal?

The snarky answer is that a sovereign state can make anything illegal that it chooses to.

But we shouldn't allow anything a server responds to to be legal. After all, just because your server responds to my SQL injection attack doesn't mean it should be legal for me to steal your database.

The law isn't analogous to code and doesn't work that way. "But your honor, their server sent me the data! Clearly I was authorized!" won't fly in the real world.

There's a pretty clear difference in intent from hitting the video page with a browser and hitting with a tool whose only purpose is to make a local copy.

There's also the TOS:

    YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service as set forth in these Terms of Service, provided that:

    You agree not to distribute in any medium any part of the Service or the Content without YouTube's prior written authorization, unless YouTube makes available the means for such distribution through functionality offered by the Service (such as the Embeddable Player).

    You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.

Thanks for your response.

> "But your honor, their server sent me the data! Clearly I was authorized!" won't fly in the real world.

I don't see why not. There is such a thing as an implied contract. What do you think would be the reason that it wouldn't fly? I mean if the TOS that nobody ever reads is good enough, why wouldn't authorization be implied when the server responds, regardless even of what the TOS says?

Also the TOS seems a bit ambiguous, but my main defense against that would be to send my own TOS to the server on every request.

>What do you think would be the reason that it wouldn't fly?

As I said: intent, which would definitely be scrutinized in a case where you're up in front of a judge. There's some interestingness in determining whether the ToS is actionable or not (and in some countries it isn't), but I find it really hard to argue legally or morally that Youtube can't mandate that you don't hit their service with a tool whose only purpose it is to copy videos.

It's a bit more murky when dealing with a tool like youtube-dl which is a program you run on your own machine, but pretty cut and dry for a web service you're providing to others.

>why wouldn't authorization be implied when the server responds, regardless even of what the TOS says? Also the TOS seems a bit ambiguous, but my main defense against that would be to send my own TOS to the server on every request.

They're providing the service, you are not. If you don't like their service's requirements, you are free to not use it. The logical conclusion of this hypothetical world is that anyone sending the X-User-TOS header would simply be met with a 403. Most other companies would follow suit, since it's absurd for a service that serves millions of users daily to comply with the legal demands of all of them.

Worse, nothing has been gained in this world. Just as YouTube is free to demand you use the website or not at all, they are free to reject clients who demand extra obligations. Their back yard, their rules at the end of the day.

> I don't see why not. There is such a thing as an implied contract. What do you think would be the reason that it wouldn't fly?

IANAL. You cite a concept from contract law, but forget another: frustration of purpose. Saying there is an implied contract that you get access would frustrate the purpose of the original access contract.

> I think it's unauthorized copying, which is copyright infringement.

I don't see how this argument would actually hold up for youtube-dl (whereas I do see how it would hold up for a third-party website like youtube-mp3).

In youtube-dl, the process goes like this:

1. User connects to website, requests copy of video. 2. Website agrees and serves copy of video. 3. User makes private use of copy of video, e.g. saves it to disk.

In this circumstance the user isn't doing any copying or distributing of copies, they're just making use of the copy they're given. It's exactly like recording a TV show playing over the air.

(Note the difference to a website like youtube-mp3, in which there is a step where youtube-mp3 makes a copy of the data they received and distributes it to the user.)

I definitely see how youtube-mp3 would be infringement since they are the ones actually sending you the bits over a wire.

I have a hard time seeing how youtube-dl would even count as unauthorized copying. Not just in an "it's virtually unenforceable" sort of way, either.

If it's unauthorized copying to use software on my computer to download and store copyrighted bits that I obtained directly from the authorized source (in this case YouTube), then Google would need to help go after themselves, since Chrome is doing the same thing (as youtube-dl).

If I can create/use a CLI tool that (presumably) acts like a browser (youtube-dl) and you can't implement a way to prevent that, then that's your issue -- not mine.

Legally, I'm probably wrong, though, since intent is usually way more important than what you actually do (e.g. porn vs nude art).

EDIT: looks like others pretty much confirmed this thought process in the time it took me to write it.

In Europe at least, temporary web caches aren't infringing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#Non-inf... I think the US has similar law, but all I can find quickly is this ruling: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/27/google_cache_copyri...

I agree. I can see how it is possible to for a tool like youtube-dl could violate a website's TOS, but not how it could violate copyright law.

I used to make mixtapes by recording music from the radio onto a cassette tape.

I guess that would've been illegal, too?

There was a specific exception made for this exact scenario (which does not apply to digital signals).


In Sweden I'm pretty sure that exception is regardless of the source.

Problem became when CDs etc. started shipping with easily cirumventable DRM. Because you are allowed to rip the CD to disk for backup purposes and for playing on your mp3-player and even share with your close family. We even pay a special tax on storage media to compensate artists for the right to do this.

But as soon as the media contains DRM it becomes illegal, because circumventing DRM is illegal. Nevermind that the action you are trying to do is legal and with the tax you are even paying for it - but you can't legally do it. Same would apply to youtube. All they would have to do is encrypt the stream with a ROT13 equivalent with a static key, call it DRM and bam - now it is illegal to use youtube-dl.

Is this a case of that act needing to be updated to be more relevant to modern technology?

No, because that's for limited personal use. Selling the tape or playing it in public would be illegal, I suppose.

But using youtube-dl or (in this case) youtube-mp3 would be for precisely the same purpose.

Unless the assumption with this shut down is that any results of using the service would always be used for selling or playing in public.

youtube-dl = fightclub

Rule #1 ---- No one talks about youtube-dl!!!!!!

Okay make youtube-dl more visible I am sure that will be a big benefit for the project.

> Very likely ok until people also start getting arrested for going to pee during tv comercials

Ambient light sensors can probably detect a person walking past.

Forget light sensors, think facial recognition on the camera that is in your smart TV for... I don't know, videoconferencing, I guess? ;).

Microsoft already has a patent on using in-home censors to set fees based on how many people are watching a TV. I'm excited to see us reinvent TV taxes as a shady, privacy-destroying rent we pay to tech companies...


I think they even had this as a production ready feature in the Xbox One at one time (before launch, but at a very late stage), but were surprised that users were a bit miffed about it.

Plus now they get to spy on us using tiny little cameras !

I think this is an important ideological gray zone for copyright. The RIAA wants to have their cake and eat it too -- use Youtube to publicly and 'freely' distribute music to your computer (along with ads), but also completely control what your computer is allowed to do with the music. I don't see what kind of case they'd have against youtube-dl, which runs on your own computer, but I guess they can argue a site like this is "copyright infringement" even if it does the same thing as youtube-dl, just because it's a middleman website in between the user and youtube rather than code on the user's own machine. The reasoning is not too far from suing a CDN for copyright infringement because it doesn't have explicit license to copy and distribute the music.

Corporations and their industry organizations operate by a different set of rules. The important ideological concept in my opinion is not just the idea of copyright, but the idea of net neutrality itself when it comes to accessing content. The web is not a TV nor a newspaper or magazine. A web browser is not a set-top box, it's a user agent for HTTP. Net neutrality, in my opinion, is not just a fight to keep content transmission neutral but the content access neutral as well. My set-top box (aka web browser) should not limit the content I have access to, regardless of whether I'm using Chrome, Firefox, curl, wget, or youtube-dl.

This type of net neutrality was co-opted by content platforms who used it to lower their rates in a fight with the ISPs. The voice of individual internet subscribers was lost in this.

They, YouTube, RIAA, et al, do want to have their cake and eat it too. They took advantage of the internet and rushed to put their content on open networks, without fully understanding how that network operates fundamentally. Now they want to change how we communicate to suit their business models, and in the case of YouTube, do whatever they can to shut the door behind them so no one else can go through.

> They, YouTube, RIAA, et al, do want to have their cake and eat it too. They took advantage of the internet and rushed to put their content on open networks, without fully understanding how that network operates fundamentally.

If there is one thing you can't accuse of RIAA of it's rushing to embrace the internet. Think about how long it's taken for digital downloads to become a first class citizen for music purchases! About how many streaming services have shut down under because they couldn't get enough labels to licence their music. etc

I'm sure the only reason many labels have official YouTube channels is because people were uploading music videos already so they figured they might as well get that ad revenue themselves. Otherwise they'd just be licensing their content the old way to radio networks, TV stations and, more recently, the limited number of streaming services who can afford their expensive contracts.

I agree in the sense that they weren't rushing to the internet in terms of early adoption. The rush was reactionary, by embracing YouTube (eventually), but I do think the nuance of the web still escaped their grasp. Maybe they finally realized it was easier/unavoidable to broadcast and litigate than it was to control distribution in fine-grained fashion.

In any case, (incoming analogy) the church is better off with the printing press and allowing the bible to be translated from Latin. Its distribution and reach has expanded greatly. And it can still burn heretics.

I don't think "rush" is the right term - reactionary or not. Lots of artists still don't have an official YouTube presence and those that do often find their content blocked in some countries due to regional distribution licences. Plus they only started adopting YouTube several years after people had already been uploading videos independently.

Their adoption couldn't have been slower if they tried - which I honestly believe they did try because YouTube doesn't fit their traditional licensing models.

What possibly helped their their adoption of YouTube - and I'm just speculating on this last point so please take this with a pinch of salt - was how software has become good enough to run automated scans across YouTube and raise DMCA reports on any infringing content. This means record labels / distributors can not only block unwanted content but also ensure their own YouTube content gets all the ad revenue. I'm not saying this was a major contributing factor but it probably doesn't hurt their opinions of the platform.

In many countries it is not a gray zone. It is explicitly legal.

I'm sorry, there is probably a misunderstanding. What do you mean by "it"?

Do you mean "a third-party website, accessing a copyrighted work on e.g. Youtube, making a copy of it, and distributing that copy to a user who requests it?" Because I'd be curious to see why/where this is "explicitly" legal.

But note the distinction from "a user accessing a copyrighted work on e.g. Youtube, then making a copy of it on her own computer for personal use."

I and others explained a bit more in other comments in this thread.

While writing, I meant making a copy of streamed content. However, I do indeed completely fail to see how a website doing what you describe could be illegal.

> "a third-party website, accessing a copyrighted work on e.g. Youtube, making a copy of it, and distributing that copy to a user who requests it?"

That describes exactly what a browser does. Accessing Youtube and downloading the video for private use is legal, so is converting that video to audio only. There is no copyright violated, because users (in Germany) have the right to make copies. Why should it matter with which tool the copy is made?

Now, there was a recent criminalization of pirate video streaming sites. But there the argument of the court was that it is visible to the user that the content is illegal/unlicensed. That's not the case with Youtube.

I don't see any legal argument for the illegality of sites like youtube-mp3.

I think there's a big distinction because a browser is running on the user's own computer and under control of the user.

> Why should it matter with which tool the copy is made?

I don't know for sure, but I would think it matters if the tool is a third party's website (again, not on the user's computer).

To me, it seems like the difference between setting a TiVo to record a TV show for you (like using your browser or youtube-dl to access Youtube), versus asking a neighbor who has the same cable package to record the show for you and hand you a copy. Now if that neighbor is a for-profit business, that sounds more similar to the YouTube-mp3 site. And that doesn't sound like it would be legal (for the site to operate. Nothing illegal about what the user is doing).

Also, to be clear: I'm not happy that the YouTube-mp3 site is shutting down, I don't think there's anything immoral about what it does, and if I were making the rules then it would be perfectly legal. I'm just trying to understand the issues at play.

Hm, not sure the neighbor is the best example. A neighbor giving a copy to a neighbor would still fall under private use.

Being a for-profit business is more likely to change the equation. On the other hand, that's not that much different than selling a VHS recorder.

Actually, discussions like this are a good example why we need a copyright reform. But the issue there is that every time that was tried in the last years, it was used to add more uncertainty and less rights (in the proposals). We would need the contrary.

It is difficult to see how it would be explicitly legal in any country that is a signatory to the Berne Convention and the three step test. Which is almost every functioning country in the world.

Switzerland is totaly legal if you don't sell it.

Personal use is allowed and nothing should be pay.

Only commercial use, need to pay for reuse, broadcast song.

This is a fair-use, blaming end-user people is so stupid.

Now Youtube, and all BIG one make a lot of money but are muscian more rich? NO, it's even more hard.

Are people still foled by major and music stolen by these compagny? Yes, welcome slavery 2.0

People that don't have money to fight now can just shut up against these big compagny even with small youtube channel you can see people stole video for each other, like the last one you get a kid stole another kid video after 2 days. He have stolen 40 videos, same content, same title, etc.

Do we agree to live in a such world, when you can't do something with value added? Sure we need to protect the right but in a same for every musician. Every musician should have the same right to protect their music but that's not the case.

Also I don't think we need to pay to give service. Example. I have a bar, people listen to some music ok, but why I need to pay? I make a free adversting of that music? It's not that enough? I don't earn money with that music, I earn it with the bar.

The same can apply with movie. We need movie that can come from another place that hollywood and there big industry of movie, they are all crap but sell because like pop music it's what generate revenue.

That's probably by Article 9 paragraph 2 of the convention: It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.

The European Union Copyright Directive explicitly allows member states to have legislation allowing copies for private uses. Germany for example makes use of that exception. It is allowed to make copies of copyrighted works for personal use (with some restrictions). In exchange we pay a special tax on storage media which goes to right holders (for example 36€ on a smartphone).

That topic is far away from my area of expertise but we had some high-profile court cases regarding private copies and if there had been any way to shut that down via the Berne Convention it would surely have been tried.

Over here in The Netherlands it's not explicitly legal to download things, but if you downloaded copyrighted content you're only required to pay back the missed income to the publisher. In case of a youtube video download for personal use, this would equal to the value of a single ad view.

Have a look at Germany then.

Could you please expand on the matter?

Sure. Dating back from the days of radio and cassettes, it is (to my knowledge) absolutely legal to make copies of streams for private use. Since artists are payed for copies via the GEMA, a organization distributing the german hidden taxes for it, people have the right to make such copies.

Copies for private use are as such not a gray area, but explicitly legal. I fail to see how a site that helps making those copies could be illegal in any way. There was a court fight in Germany over the backups the site was doing, but it is telling that it was only about that, not the core functionality, and that this current attack on peoples right was launched from an US court.

Does it even make a difference if using YouTube-mp3 and youtube-dl are explicitly against YouTube's terms of service?

YouTube's terms of service, in part, read:

  4.  General Use of the Service—Permissions and Restrictions

  YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service as set forth in these Terms of Service, provided that:

    A. You agree not to distribute in any medium any part of the Service or the Content without YouTube's prior written authorization, unless YouTube makes available the means for such distribution through functionality offered by the Service (such as the Embeddable Player).

    B. You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service.

    C. You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.

Youtude-dl complies with all of these. It doesn't red-distribute anything, it doesn't alter anything and it accesses the content through the video playback page.

There are also browser extensions, like "Download YouTube Videos as MP4" that simply displays mp3 link embedded in YTs web page. No third party servers, no external programs, you use Chrome to download mp3 straight from YT server.

Then of course ToS/Eula is toilet paper in EU.

And its 100% legal to download whatever I like (audio/video, not software) in my country thanks to CD tax RIA fought so hard for.

You can access YouTube or retrieve a URL through youtube-dl without reading and agreeing to these Terms.

> use Youtube to publicly and 'freely' distribute music to your computer (along with ads), but also completely control what your computer is allowed to do with the music

And how is it radically different from a restrictive open source license? You can say the same about software engineers, how post their code publicly and 'freely', but also control what you do with that code.

Fundamentally it's very similar. That's why there is a proliferation of licenses. The MIT vs BSD vs Apache vs GPLv2 vs GPLv3 vs AGPLv3 debate is fundamentally a debate which restrictions are reasonable and which go too far

We can have a debate about what is reasonable in terms of music too. But once the copyright owner, be it a musician or a software engineer, decides on a license, we can't just violate his decision, even if we decide that it's unreasonable.

Speaking as a musician, I have posted my tracks on Youtube and supplied a link to download them for free on Bandcamp. But when I released a music with a label, I delegated all the distribution rights to that label, and they made a decision not to offer free downloads. I may disagree with their decision, but it's theirs to make since I signed the contract.

Copyright can't control what you do with code, on your own computer. Disassemble Windows if you want to. Nor, in theory, can it control what you do with music in the privacy of your own home. Block YouTube ads if you want to.

It can control your right to redistribute. Hence youtube-dl is legal, but a website that runs youtube-dl and gives you the result isn't.

This comment exactly expresses my understanding of the issue.

Interesting comparison. It does seem similar in some ways.

One way to view it is whether the license grants additional rights beyond default copyright law, or attempts to restrict rights. By default under copyright law, if a webpage serves you a video, you can do whatever you want for personal use, e.g. strip the ads out using software, save a copy for later backup, etc. The same is true for software, of course. The terms of use for these webpages try to get you to agree to waive some of these rights.

Now by default, under copyright law, you don't have permission to re-sell or redistribute copies of the work, and there are limits on derivative works you can make. Most open-source licenses grant you additional rights which normally would be restricted by default. The licenses say, you have permission to do some of these things under some circumstances. But they usually don't try to to take away rights you already have, e.g. "you may not store this code on any solid state drives or modify it in any way for personal use to include the letter Q".

The fundamental difference here is that MAFIAA engages in developing technical means to limit how you can consume media. No open source license cares about what you do with the source code on your own machines (plural); restrictions only kick in if you want to distribute code to other people.

So glad I exist in a timeline where youtube-dl exists.

Having culture locked up in these corporate sites that can wipe it out or remove it in less than a second makes me so anxious.

I feel like things will change in the next few years. One of these decentralized video or storage services might take off and change things forever. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but ever since blockchain technology got rapid adoption (at least among technical people), I can't help but think we're a few user interface innovations on top of decentralized technology away from really seeing a completely different kind of internet.

Forgive my ignorance (I haven't found a resource that clearly discusses blockchain without conflating it with cryptocurrencies) - but can we even have a blockchain-based tech that doesn't burn enormous amounts of electricity just to operate? If not, then I don't see how blockchain can do anything but make things worse.

Also, the real problem isn't technical here. P2P file sharing technologies - from BitTorrent to IPFS - work well and efficiently. The problem, which makes the Internet media evolve towards big players owning CDNs and not towards IPFS-like network, is legal liability. When I watch a video of a wrong colour on YouTube, I'm protected by Safe Harbour. If I watch the same movie over BitTorrent, I risk having my life ruined by copyright laws. As long as this can happen, we won't have fully decentralized media.

> but can we even have a blockchain-based tech that doesn't burn enormous amounts of electricity just to operate?

Look into Proof of Stake (PoS) - people are looking into more efficient blockchains (although there's some controversy over whether it will work)

I've heard of the term, but from what I understand, no actual working implementation of that concept currently exists, right?

Decred is currently mined using a mix of PoW and PoS.

Current supply[1]:

PoW-mined: 43.5% PoS-mined: 21.8% Development Subsidy: 7.3% Airdrop: 13.7% Dev Premine: 13.7%

Blackcoin is also PoS mined, and NXT reaches consensus using PoS but if IIUC is not mined per se.

1: https://www.decred.org/

That sounds a lot like classic filesharing. But better filesharing isn't really a technical issue, we know how to do all that. It's a niche product because it has none of the legal protections that YouTube has (safe harbour etc). Distributing files without written permission from the owner isn't legally possible for individuals

It's already there. IPFS. Just need a way to index it. There's Ethereum. Tezos could potentially do it cheaper.

And a way to ensure you don't get sued out of your livelihood for the copyrighted file IPFS happened to cache on your machine.

I wonder if you could take a middle step, and host a community-run server for youtube-dl itself; run YouTube-mp3 on an anonymous and decentralized server. Perhaps Ethereum is the right technology for this.

Would something like that be possible with Ethereum or otherwise blockchains in general?

I don't understand blockchain technology in depth, but my understanding is that writing to the blockchain is usually not particularly cheap or fast, especially when writing large amounts of data. A blockchain that fills up with terabytes of pirated movies or mp3s would become difficult to operate, wouldn't it?

You'd be using some sort of filecoin-like storage system, where you pay people for distributed storage.

If I've been following the whole Ethereum thing correctly, as an outsider who kind of looks down on it, this is right up it's alley. You write some sort of smart contract which allows for the uploading and downloading of music blobs, charges for the service, and if insufficient coins are garnered for storage deletes the least used files.

I don't think you need a server or any such thing, and the only way to force a take down would be to take down the underlying services.

> I don't think you need a server or any such thing, and the only way to force a take down would be to take down the underlying services.

What's to stop the MPAA/RIAA and ISPs from just suing everyone on the network who's hosting part of the file? If they can sue bittorrent users, what's the significant legal difference here?

There's probably nothing to stop them, but it's way more hilarious. Anonymous internet people start using the networks for various flavors of illegal file storage, and various innocent network operators just trying to sell shovels in a gold rush or run a simple pyramid scam start getting sued by the RIAA or prosecuted by the FBI, while the original uploaders (or even the smart contracts to maintain and index the uploads) are dust in the wind.

I don't think I'd call random innocent people getting served with lawsuits "hilarious".

It's hilarious because people have been jumping into running services without necessarily considering the legal liabilities they've been signing up for.

It's like if someone started a point-to-point delivery business where they take anonymous, secure packages between different places, no questions asked, and then are surprised when the police show up and say they're pretty sure that a good portion of the packages they've been carrying are drugs and pipe bombs, and ask them to roll on their clients, or at least stop delivering packages. And then the delivery man tries to make a philosophical argument that they aren't morally or legally responsible for the contents of their packages, and in any case it really shouldn't be illegal to distribute drugs or pipe bombs.

Why not just use spotify? If you are building a commercial service a blockchain just complicates matters and gives no benefit.

If you are building a piracy service a blockchain just complicates things and adds no value.

A pretty good rule of thumb is that if you can replace block chain with a database or anything else and lose no functionality, not to mention remove the whole thing together and simplify your solution it's not block chain but bullshit.

> Why not just use spotify?

Spotify doesn't have the music I want to listen to.

Agreed, but it also makes me a little sad that we could potentially only have some shitty compressed transcode of a transcode copy of some rare album, since YouTube is plagued with those kinds of uploads. Really makes the loss of what.cd hurt even more.

Only enthusiasts can truly be trusted with archiving culture.

Compare what.cd to iTunes. Compare Karagarga to Netflix, people actually go out of their way to create the best version of a movie, maybe the western release has incorrect hardcoded subs and awful picture quality. Someone goes out of their way to find the best version of it which may be something obscure like a Japanese laserdisc, rip it, fix subtitles and audio etc and release it for no monetary gain just the pure love of the media.

People actually being paid to release this stuff care far less about it than enthusiasts.

red isn't doing too badly though

I'm a YouTube Red subscriber, and I also use youtube-dl to allow for offline listening on various devices. Since I'm paying Youtube, and not redistributing my downloads, I don't feel this is any different from DVR-ing a TV show or the old (and legal) practice of copying a vinyl LP to cassette tape so I could listen to it in my car.

Except the content makers aren't getting revenue since YouTube Red pays for engagement. I LOVE YouTube Red I only use youtube-dl for special use cases.

It seems likely that the gp is talking about what.cd successor redacted.ch, not the "YouTube Red" paid streaming service.

Red is great, but if we want to preserve our musical heritage, we can't need to hide as we do it. I think that secret libraries are not as resilient as public archives.

Agree completely. I am late to the party as I only heard about this tool a few days ago (from HN, of course), but I'm already archiving some of my favorite obscure videos. Props to the developers.

I am a confirmed packrat. When I hear a really interesting podcast, obscure piece of music, etc. I mirror it to local storage... especially if it's political. Storage is cheap.

Doesn't even have to be 'verboten' political. It would be easy for an AI bot trained to curtail e.g. 'hate speech' to delete loads of things that are just unorthodox.

This is not necessarily permanent. Does youtube-dl work with your Netflix subscription ? This shows the direction we're heading.

PS: I know DRMs are broken eventually. But Netflix seems to be holding its ground for now, and seems to be attacked only through HDCP (the weakest link for now since you can find capture HDMI cards with stolen keys) for the highest-quality content.

Out of curiosity: Is youtube-dl something that can be prevented from working? Does a download from youtube-dl look different to a Google server than a legitimate view?

I guess it's kinda surprising to me that it still works after all this time, that there isn't some sort of authentication involved to prevent it.

It would be easy for them to fingerprint it and block it at a server level, given that it uses some hardcoded headers (which are probably sent in the wrong order versus the browser it's spoofing), doesn't fetch any of the images/stylesheets/etc on the page, and probably fetches scripts/manifests/etc in a predictable order that differs from YouTube's own scripts. Maybe they already do this (fingerprinting and logging, that is), but I haven't heard of anyone being banned for it, so it's probably not something to worry about.

It would also be easy for them to just break the extraction code. The old code used to break every time the signature function changed, and while the current code solves that problem, there are still so many things that they could do to break it, and yet they don't (the current code has only broken a few times that I can think of, and I don't think any of those were intentional on Google's part).

Technically it could violate these parts of the ToS, but they're all grey areas:

- access through anything than the site or 'approved' clients (but youtube-dl does use the site, so it could just be classed as another user agent)

- running automated services against them (running youtube-dl manually is probably fine, even for whole playlists or channels, but running a 'youtube-dl as a service' site like the one in this case is almost certainly not)

- downloading videos (but youtube-dl can also be used for streaming, despite the name)

I'm guessing that Google simply doesn't give a shit, as long as you're not using using it abusively (e.g. offering it as a service or using it to do mass-scraping).

In theory, no not really. Everything required for your browser to obtain the stream must be provided in the webpage, so it's always possible for something else to pretend to be a browser and get ahold of the stream.

In practice, they could combat the practicality by various methods, like embedding the ads in the video stream, throttling the stream to hurt the use-case of downloading vs watching (they already do this I think).

YouTube has broken youtube-dl multiple times (a lot). It's a cat and mouse situation.

Ultimately YouTube could start properly DRM-ing all their streams. If you watch a film you've bought from Google Play via YouTube it is protected by Widevine DRM, and youtube-dl fails.

It seems like YouTube feel it's cheaper at the moment to try and frustrate downloading this way, but if they ever feel like it's a lost cause they'll just pull the Widevine lever.

With EME implemented across all major browsers and Google having made it impossible to disable Widevine in Chrome, I'd be amazed if that doesn't change in less than a year.

And it works with so much more than YouTube. One of my favorite tools for media acquisition.

There is also http://convert2mp3.net/ (from Germany). If I understand correctly, the reasoning is that a download is private copy, which is allowed in Germany, and can't be forbidden by the Youtube ToS.

Unfortunately there is no information about the case available in English, here is some German: http://convert2mp3.net/index.php?p=legal

Google also is trying to wipe out any reference they can to youtube downloaders. The publisher's Adsense account may get suspended/terminated if they link to (or mention!) any well-known youtube downloaders.

Seems like an abuse of power

At one point Google said they would never do it, which was the first sign that they were totally going to do it.

Google is a for-profit monopoly. Stop thinking they're the fucking good guys.

The only people who ever feel the need to say "trust me" are the ones who are trying to lie to you.

The music industry is a scummy vampire industry that is desperately grasping at any life it can suck out of people that actually do something productive. We will undoubtedly see the RIAA fade to effectively nothing in the next few decades, which is a fitting end for an organization that only exists in its current incarnation because of a long history of shafting people.

In the age of the internet, there is very, very little that a record label will do for you that will leave you better off. Producing and distributing music is approaching triviality. Arranging concerts and touring isn't easy, but no full-time job (which is effectively what music is for you at that stage) is, and there are plenty of independent acts that have done and still are doing it. More often than not, all industry involvement will net you is you losing out on revenue from record sales with few upsides.

I'll be glad to see the RIAA and record label asswipes go belly up in a blaze of tears, weeping, and gnashing of teeth, all while wondering why their business plan that consisted entirely of leeching on actual productivity failed.

I used to think I didn't like the RIAA but they are on the side of good. There is a reason just about every content creator whether a musician or not is on their side.

Folks in this thread may be interested in "4k Video Downloader", an elegant and simple GUI for fast downloading of YouTube audio and video with multiple resolutions and options.


I use this with VLC to watch lectures with fine-grained control over the playback speed (i.e., 1.7x, not just 1.5x and 2x).

More tools to steal money out of the pockets of those who provide content.

...in the same sense that bathroom breaks or channel-changing for TV ads are tools to "steal" money from the networks? Sorry, but nobody promised to watch the commercials.

I don't think it's fair to imply some sort of moral contract that if I serve you videos with ads, you're obligated to pay attention to the ads as well as the content. You are free to do what you want, including pay someone else to cut the ads out for you or install a tool that does it for free. I have to accept these possibilities when I choose how to distribute my 'content' and so do the advertisers.

(I realize that we're currently in an "equilibrium" where a lot of 'content' on the web is ad-supported so it's difficult for creators to distribute in any other way. That's unfortunate both for creators and users.)

Use youtube-dl manually or via telegram bot https://telegram.me/utubebot, for example

Long since moved to Peggo. Works just as good but even has a video saving option

Related to youtube-dl, I recently found out streamlink[0], which is a nice cli tool that does streamripping from various websites (it even supports twitch streams) to help you play these streams on the player of your choice (instead of the browser). Of course this also circumvents ads as a side-effect.

[0]: https://github.com/streamlink/streamlink

https://en.savefromnet.com. Thank me later.

This doesn't just affect musical artist but all YouTuber's whom rely upon the platform to earn money for their work via advertising. Much of their content can instead be stream ripped and distributed without any earnings capabilities. I'm sorry, that's wrong in every way.

Never heard of it! However there’s keepvid.com, clip-converter and of course youtube-dl.

I use jdownloader, which can also download from many other sites.

youtube-dl can also download from a wide variety of sites, contrary to what its name would have you believe.

Yeah it's more like *-dl. It's hard to find sites it doesn't work with.

I didn't know that, I'll check it out, thanks! :)

Reminds me of the nice chrome extension that allowed playing youtube music in the background. Streamus IIRC; and youtube was very nasty toward the guy. Anyway farewell ytmp3

I usually put this in my .bash_aliases file:

    alias youtubemp3='youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3'

If you don't have to, don't re-encode it. All youtube videos nowadays have audio encoded in OPUS format, which compresses way better than MP3

so, theoretically, if i used the asm.js port of ffmpeg.js to do the conversion clientside that would be ok?

Why bother transcoding... youtube will gladly serve you various audio and video formats seperately. Just download the opus stream and save to a file. Let te user transcode to mp3 if they need it.

afaik they only serve AAC and opus audio, which should be fine on modern players, but people with embedded players and/or old ipods might need a mp3.

>Let te user transcode to mp3 if they need it.

convenience factor

You need to put the video and audio streams together, though. Which requires a transcode pass.

Not a transcode just a mux of the different audio and video files into a container such as MP4 or MKV. Pop ffmpeg in the same directory as youtube-dl and it will do the work for you. A simple 'youtube-dl [video url] -f bestvideo+bestaudio' will get you a nice single file with the best audio and video :)

I think that's called muxing, since you aren't really changing codecs, just bundling streams together.

Copyright law is so outdated. When are we going to end these parasitic liberty-infringing laws?

This sounds like an awesome opportunity for me to create such a site.

try https://h2converter.com, best tool convert youtube video to mp3 ;)

Pff, that would reencode the audio anyway. Unacceptable!

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