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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.

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  • (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.