The record companies’ war against tools for downloading YouTube videos continues, and guns are pointed at everyone who takes their side. In Germany, the website hosting provider of the YouTube-DL was sued in court by Sony Entertainment, Warner Music Group e Universal Music. In response, the internet company asks that the case be dismissed by the court.
The provider in question is called Uberspace. He was sued by the three record companies earlier this year. The companies allege that YouTube-DL circumvents technical protection measures, helping to infringe copyrights.
YouTube-DL is a very simple and open source program that saves YouTube videos for offline playback. It even works from the command line, without a graphical interface. Its code serves as the basis for other tools of the type made available as webapps.
In a response sent to the Hamburg District Court, Uberspace argues that the music industry is lobbying a neutral internet infrastructure provider under the guise of defending copyright.
Provider defends legitimate uses of YouTube-DL
Uberspace had help from the Society for Civil Rights (GFF, for its acronym in German) to write its defense. The entity has made an English version of the document available on its website.
Together, they defend that YouTube-DL is not only used to copy music, series and movies without paying. The tool also serves to support freedom of the press and freedom of information.
This understanding is shared by entities such as Amnesty International, which recommends the use of YouTube-DL to document human rights violations on the internet, since platforms such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter remove such content.
The defense also recalls that journalists, scientists, enforcement agencies and human rights organizations turn to YouTube-DL for documentation and preservation of evidence.
Even YouTube has benefits. Downloading a video can be important to make a “react”, for example, which is reposted on the platform and monetized with ads.
In addition, the site allows you to post content under a Creative Commons license, but even in such cases it is not possible to download it. It’s up to YouTube-DL to do this job.
Another point is that YouTube does not encrypt these contents. When downloading them, the user only uses data already made available by Youtube without any protection.
Finally, it’s interesting to note that YouTube-DL is not on Uberspace. The provider only hosts the tool’s website, which is used for announcements and notices. The program code is actually on GitHub — which, by the way, has already entered the fray before.
YouTube-DL has already been protected by GitHub
In 2020, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asked GitHub to remove YouTube-DL from its website for circumventing copyright protections.
Initially, the platform accepted the request. However, backlash from the episode and action by digital rights groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) prompted the repository to pull back.
GitHub went one step further and instituted a $1 million fund to defend against takedown requests.
The repository, by the way, can be targeted in this same process, albeit indirectly.
Both Uberspace and EFF believe the three labels are practicing “forum shopping,” the name given to the practice of looking for the forum where the chance of winning is greatest.
In the case, there was already a favorable decision by the Hamburg District Court in 2017 – it is even cited in the current case. Should the music industry companies win the case again, it could be used as a basis for a possible lawsuit against GitHub.
With information: TorrentFreak.