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Breaking News
posted by martyb on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the Draconian-Monsterous-Copyright-Abomination dept.

Standing up for developers: youtube-dl is back

Today we reinstated youtube-dl, a popular project on GitHub, after we received additional information about the project that enabled us to reverse a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown.

[...] GitHub handles DMCA claims to maximize protections for developers, and we designed our DMCA Takedown Policy with developers in mind. Nearly every platform with user-generated content accepts and processes DMCA takedown notices to comply with the law. For GitHub, many of those notices come from developers wanting us to enforce the terms of their open source licenses, for example, when someone is using their code without the proper attribution required by the open source license they adopted.

[...] As we explained, the key claim in the youtube-dl takedown is circumvention. Although we did initially take the project down, we understand that just because code can be used to access copyrighted works doesn't mean it can't also be used to access works in non-infringing ways. We also understood that this project's code has many legitimate purposes, including changing playback speeds for accessibility, preserving evidence in the fight for human rights, aiding journalists in fact-checking, and downloading Creative Commons-licensed or public domain videos. When we see it is possible to modify a project to remove allegedly infringing content, we give the owners a chance to fix problems before we take content down. If not, they can always respond to the notification disabling the repository and offer to make changes, or file a counter notice.

That's what happened in this case. First, we were able to reinstate a fork of youtube-dl after one of the fork owners applied a patch with changes in response to the notice.

Then, after we received new information that showed the youtube-dl project does not in fact violate the DMCA's anticircumvention prohibitions, we concluded that the allegations did not establish a violation of the law. In addition, the maintainer submitted a patch to the project addressing the allegations of infringement based on unit tests referencing copyrighted videos. Based on all of this, we reinstated the youtube-dl project and will be providing options for reinstatement to all of its forks.

So it was all because a unit test mentioned several certain videos which happened to be copyrighted by someone who was offended their link was used in a test case? And the patch changed the test case video links to some that would not cause problems in the future? And that was used to stretch this into a circumvention device claim?

It is interesting that GitHub is taking this stand. GitHub is o1wned by Microsoft.


Original Submission

Related Stories

GitHub Revamps Copyright Takedown Policy After Restoring YouTube-dl 17 comments

GitHub Revamps Copyright Takedown Policy After Restoring YouTube-dl

GitHub revamps copyright takedown policy after restoring YouTube-dl:

The source code for YouTube-dl, a tool you can use to download videos from YouTube, is back up on GitHub after the code repository took it down in October following a DMCA complaint from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Citing a letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the EFF), GitHub says it ultimately found that the RIAA's complaint didn't have any merit.

[...]

This is the best possible outcome of the RIAA's attack on youtube-dl. Good on @GitHub for standing up for developers against DMCA § 1201 abuses.

The @EFF did amazing work representing the project, and you should read their letter: https://t.co/Whh0cKTgIFhttps://t.co/BT1aovWZx7

— Filippo Valsorda 💚🤍❤️ ✊ (@FiloSottile) November 16, 2020

If there's a silver lining to the episode, it's that GitHub is implementing new policies to avoid a repeat of a repeat situation moving forward. [...]

GitHub is also establishing a $1 million defense fund to provide legal aid to developers against suspect section 1201 claims, as well as doubling down on its lobbying work to amend the DMCA and other similar copyright laws across the world.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:31AM (#1078147)

    GitHub is o1wned[sic] o1nked by Microsoft.

    FTFY

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:46AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:46AM (#1078153)

    1) The "new information" that Github received was a letter sent by one of the EFF's lawyers. The EFF provided legal assistance to the youtube-dl developers. Open source projects tend to not have the funds available to retain legal counsel, which is why it's worth donating to the EFF. When this story originally broke, I posted a comment on the SN story inquiring if the EFF was involved. It's welcome news that they had a significant role in getting youtube-dl reinstated. If you are able, please consider donating to the EFF.

    2) Github is establishing a $1 million legal defense fund to help open source projects in similar situations. Again, this is welcome news because open source projects tend to not have the cash on hand to retain legal counsel. Undoubtedly this benefits Microsoft because negative publicity could result in developers leaving Github for other hosting services beyond the reach of the DMCA. It's still welcome news because it benefits open source projects.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @06:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @06:36AM (#1078161)

      because negative publicity could result in developers leaving Github for other hosting services beyond the reach of the DMCA. It's still welcome news because it benefits open source projects.

      I strongly disagree on all of this:

      - Historically, M$ has always shit all over their users and they only ever relented or "walked back" their worst offences (only to come back later with an even worse iteration of the same shit) whem they felt it in their bottom line
      - this means it's already happening, their metrics showed them a disturbing dip in user numbers and they are scared shitless. good.
      - fuck "protection". don't fall for their abusive spouse gambit. leave now, it's only getting worse. don't get drawn into Big Money Lawyer Litigation Land, because if you let that happpen, then they'll own YOU. That is not a benefit.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by darkfeline on Tuesday November 17 2020, @10:40AM (1 child)

      by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday November 17 2020, @10:40AM (#1078194) Homepage

      Are you sure it's the EFF and not the FSF? I wasn't aware that the EFF did anything useful, let alone fight for FOSS rights. Aren't the big tech companies all on EFF's board?

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Tuesday November 17 2020, @02:28PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 17 2020, @02:28PM (#1078251) Journal

        Did you look at the first link [githubusercontent.com] in TFA ?

        It is quite obviously EFF letterhead.

        --
        I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:14PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:14PM (#1078345)

      ...negative publicity could result in developers leaving Github for other hosting services beyond the reach of the DMCA.

      If you've got any left-over Kool-Aid, feel free not to share it. Those of us who've not imbibed don't see that particularly bad, over-reaching law as the warm blanket you seem to.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @05:49PM (#1078358)

        Huh? I have no idea what you're going on about. Your comment doesn't make sense. Of course the DMCA is a bad law. I wasn't aware that was in question.

        If Github continued to immediately take down any projects for which they had received a DMCA notice, it would put developers at risk because any notice, whether legitimate or not, could result in their projects being removed without warning. The youtube-dl debacle publicizes this issue and would drive developers to other services that are beyond the reach of the DMCA. The point is that Github's $1 million dollar defense fund isn't some altruistic act but an effort to prevent developers from leaving.

        To be clear, developers probably should choose a different option for hosting their projects, regardless. For those who choose not to do so, Github's fund certainly does help them. It's a good thing for developers who choose to continue hosting their projects on Github, but it probably is wise to move projects outside the reach of the DMCA and similar laws.

        The point is that the defense fund isn't some altruistic move by Github. Neither is Github's executives criticizing the RIAA. Those are just PR moves.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18 2020, @12:29AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18 2020, @12:29AM (#1078575)

      Meanwhile development has happened at Gitlab, project continued dispite a Github DMCA takedown. EFFs help with the legal stuff is nice and hackers continued on working in the grey like always.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @10:28AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17 2020, @10:28AM (#1078191)

    Hello, I'm a big, fat millionaire with top hat and cigar. I was thinking about buying YTDL for some millions, but now I can't as I got sober, so my top hat became an old rag again, my cigar is still the cheapest fag in the market and my millions have minus in bank summaries. So I can't, but when I was not sober enough, I could... Well, probably could, but the repo has been taken down.
    They could have a profit, and now they cannot, and according to this sick logic lack of imaginary profit is a loss.
    So, generally, compensation for YT-DL project when? :D

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