The YouTube-DL was recently taken down from GitHub after a copyright issue was raised. On Oct 23, 2020, a notice was sent to DCMA by the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) representative whose details were made private. The notice listed about 20 links (14 private) through which it claimed the accused used to violate the copyrights of its client – RIAA members including VEVO. “Based on our review of the representative sample above (in the 20 links provided), we have a good faith belief that most of the YouTube-DL forks are infringing to the same extent as the parent repository,” said part of the notice.
The DCMA request went ahead to say the YouTube-DL had forks that infringed the rights of its client’s property by reproducing and distributing copyrighted property. This was illegal and unaccepted as pointed out by the DCMA in reference to the penalty of perjury, copyright and common law rights on the internet.
GitHub Takes Action
GitHub had to take action having received the DCMA request. The act to remove YouTube-DL from GitHub was inevitable. Failure to do that may have pushed the legal representative of most US content producers to take more consequential actions that may have cost GitHub more.
The YouTube-DL allowed downloads of YouTube content without the consent of the copyright owner, legal representative or the law and that is why the copyright claim was raised. Before the DCMA had been raised, it is clear that the legal representative had gone to the Hamburg Regional Court according to the notification. Though the YouTube-DL site download page is live yet and the program download instruction are available there.
Some of the artists affected include Justin Timberlake with his hit song Tunnel Vision which is owned by the Sony Music Group involved. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift under the licensing of Universal Music Group was also adversely affected. These are just two of the many artists whose work was allegedly wrongfully reproduced and distributed without their consent or that of their owners and licensing corporations.
The email was not clear on whether the affected party will take further action to get compensation for the damages done. While it didn’t state that, it was clear on its retention of the right to raise a claim for compensation on the damages the affected had incurred.
The fact that GitHub obliged to their notice to take down YouTube-DL repositories may have paused their decision to take further action. Time will tell whether they will take further action on the accused or not. At the moment, the status quo will remain as no one has been sued yet to pay for damages caused by the copyright violations. Perhaps this would have been the next action had GitHub not acted upon the initial notice to take down YouTube-DL.
Away from GitHub, RIAA sent a strong message to the world through this move. Pirating sites and parent hosting platforms have a thing or two to learn from this occurrence. Copyright is a serious issue and may cost them dearly if assumed.
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