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US News Dispute over Youtube downloader on GitHub flared up

17:40  27 october  2020
17:40  27 october  2020 Source:   zdnet.de

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GitHub (Bild: GitHub) © DEFAULT_CREDIT GitHub (Image: GitHub) The RIAA has caused projects that contain the library for a Youtube downloader to be blocked. Users then post hundreds of new projects with the library in question. Thanks to an unpatched vulnerability, GitHub now even hosts the code in its own repository.

The Association of the US Music Industry RIAA enforced a copyright complaint against 18 GitHub projects last week . They were then removed or blocked by the Microsoft subsidiary because they use a Python library called youtube-dl, which allows the audio and video sources of YouTube videos to be downloaded. The deletion sparked protests from users who launched hundreds of new projects with the library in question.

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The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) argues that the "clear purpose of the source code" is to "circumvent the technical safeguards used by authorized streaming services like Youtube". This enables users to “play and distribute music videos and sound recordings without permission”.

It is disputed on what legal basis the deletion of the projects in question took place. GitHub itself speaks of a deletion request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This contradicts John Bergmayer , Legal Director of Public Knowledge. The RIAA does not assume that youtube-dl violates the rights of the association or its members, but is in itself illegal.

In fact, the library is suitable for circumventing copy protection measures, i.e. downloading copyrighted content from YouTube that is not officially offered for download.

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However, the organization Freedom of the Press points out that there are also uses that are not primarily aimed at infringing copyright. Journalists and activists should use the software to document events recorded in video recordings before they are removed by platform operators due to rule violations.

With more than 72,000 stars, i.e. positive ratings, youtube-dl was considered one of the most famous repositories on GitHub, right behind Node.js and just ahead of Kubernetes.

As Bleeping Computer reports, several hundred new projects have been posted on GitHub since the end of last week, which contain the source code and also compiled executable files of the YouTube downloader. At least in part, the repositories can be clearly assessed as a reaction and negative criticism of the RIAA's approach. This is suggested by insults directed against the association in the project descriptions. According to the report,

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Schadenfreude was also expressed by security researcher Lance R. Vick, who pointed out a vulnerability to GitHub some time ago, but which GitHub did not fix. According to him, it allows commits to be added to external repositories. The loophole has now also been used to attach the source code from youtube-dl to a GitHub own repository, in which DMCA deletion requests are stored - so GitHub now hosts the code classified as illegal by the RIAA in its own name.

The original developer of youtube-dl also told Bleeping Computer that he had not been informed of a copyright complaint prior to the deletion. He did not want to comment on the process.

It is unclear whether the RIAA is now getting involved in a cat-and-mouse game with developers and whether the newly discontinued projects can also be blocked.

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This is interesting!