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Add "pwn" before youtube in the url of any youtube video to download it
164 points by pclark on Jan 30, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 53 comments
Fantastic implementation.

Brilliant! My wife sometimes shows Youtube clips in her psych classes, but the classroom internet is unreliable. She tries to use tubesock to nab them, but that fails more than it works.

To be clear, the url should be something like //www.pwnyoutube.com/....

as an example, I present kittens riding a roomba http://www.pwnyoutube.com/watch?v=GTxW3GWZ5hI

I've been using Applian Media Catcher http://www.applian.com/replay-media-catcher/ to capture videos for teachers at my school for a while now. It's not free, but it works with a lot of sites besides YouTube.

I sent this info to my sister. She teaches science in a high school and the school's Internet filter blocks all access to YouTube, so she was thrilled to learn about this.

Small world, my wife also shows youtube clips in her psych class, and has to download them b/c of lack of connectivity too.

Hahaha, I just had to say, that isn't "small world", that's coincidence.

Maybe it's the same lady, thus "small world".

Downmod 2 minutes in. Not that I care, but here's a sloppy poll: is it better to refrain from posting whimsical responses with pedantic corrections?

Whimsical, because posting and not posting does not change the meaning of the parent's comment, and likely does not increase the total knowledge.

None of this is important, but it does cause a delay in comprehension :)

Adding "kick" also works. :))

Don't be cruel. Add 'kiss' ;)

For the past few years I've been using the youtube-dl Python script to download youtube videos on my 64-bit linux box (thanks for dropping the ball on a 64-bit flash player Adobe ... thankfully GNU gnash has become more stable recently).


There is at long last now a 64-bit Linux build of Flash 10 beta. http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashplayer10/libfla...

Except that this version seems to make Firefox massively more unstable.

It's not great, but I've had fewer problems with it than with a 32-bit build with nspluginwrapper. I use flashblock, so it's not really a problem for me.

This is really well executed. Coming up with a bookmarklet is straightforward too. For example, for the international site you could use javascript:location.href='http://pwn'+location.href.substring(11). Of course, this can be refined to handle the presence or lack of www and international prefixes (e.g., ca.youtube.com), but you get the idea.

I wonder how fast this will be disabled... Youtube need only check the referrer, right?

Determining the video url is done on pwnyoutube's server and they can set whatever referrer (or none) they like. The real question is whether Youtube will start checking the request ip address and block pwnyoutube's. But then just put the site in a cloud.

My experience is that Youtube combats this (either intentionally or just by way of code changes) by changing the method in which the flv urls are determined by the player. The download sites break until they reverse engineer, and the cycle continues.

considering youtube is starting to add their own download links (http://www.downloadsquad.com/2009/01/19/youtube-begins-addin...) and there are already tons of sites and utilities to download them already that haven't been blocked, i'd say youtube doesn't really care.

Do they care about the "youtube" trademark used in other domains?

pwnyoutube.com claims fair use:

"PWN!" is a frequently used word on the Internet, the meaning of which clearly makes the words "PWN! YouTube" a parody.

Warning to folks who this is true: trademark and copyright law are different entities. There's no such thing as "fair use" for trademarks.

For this reason, they should have instead named it pwntube.com

To many people (not really versed in internet culture) that would be pronounced [pawn/porn]tube, with the connotations such a name brings.

"Mom can I go on pwntube to get a video for my homework?" "WHAT?!?! PORNTUBE!?!? NO!!!"


Perhaps... but who cares? I doubt the people that made this site really care about the hypothetical kid in your example.

who cares

Those who want their sites/products to go mainstream without ridicule (ExpertSexChange.com/ExpertsExchange.com is a popular example) or false negative impression/bias. This is why people often spend a lot of time to choose a name carefully, especially when you consider the long-term branding and marketing.

If data is broadcast, someone will find a way to download it, regardless of any software DRM.

this is something I've never understood about DRM. If I can watch/listen to it I can capture it. Period. DRM is supposed to simply make the barrier to piracy higher so that less people overall pirate.

But this is a total misunderstanding about how piracy works. Someone will take up the challenge of breaking your DRM, and when they do everyone will download it from that person and then each other. DRM is completely ineffective in a situation where a single point of failure means total failure.

Now the question: What other sites can be pwned the same way?

Similar services have been around for a while. Then, there is the DownloadHelper plugin for Firefox.

Indeed, and they're popular, too. If you type "youtube" into Google's search, the number one suggestion in the Ajax autocompletion box is "youtube downloader".

Or just copy the file from /tmp.

I don't think the flash file will play. Try it.

I did. mplayer will play them.

yep i've trawled through my /tmp (the osx equivalent anyway) for the flv file, and if you use an flv player you can play the file

If you're using Safari, you can just hit Command-Option-A, look for the googlevideo link (or .flv/.mp4 file) and double-click to download.

Out of curiosity, how does Hulu.com prevent its videos from being copy-able?

Since it's run by two major networks, I'd imagine with a big legal sledgehammer.

Very true; I should clarified I meant technically.

It doesn't; you can certainly download a Hulu video if you know what you're doing.

I've read that Hulu uses RTMP instead of HTTP.

... or just use http://clive.sourceforge.net/ from the command line.

so how long until they get shut down. youtube has argued that this is against their terms of use.

This is perfect feature that I have missed ever since I switched from Firefox(and its many great extensions) to Chrome. On the down side, I've had a lot of crashes recently when downloading large files in Chrome.

http://kickyoutube.com has been doing the same thing.

Brilliant website and use of a domain name, which I'd guess will bring you 97% of your traffic!

For years you've been able to add "mp4" after the word "youtube" and it does a similar thing.

Thanks for the tip! Though the mp4 downloads rarely work.

Awesome. Now, please someone make this for Vimeo.

Why? You can download almost any Vimeo video if you're logged in.

Very very nice! :)

This is so cool! I have been looking for something like that for a while. Thanks for the tip!

WOw thats incredible


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