Back last week, Microsoft caught some concerned looks when the company's GitHub code repository removed code for the YouTube-DL video download tool. As we previously reported, there was plenty of backlash, including many users on GitHub reposting the code.
Microsoft now says it is taking further action and will ban any user reposting the YouTube-DL tool. In a note on GitHub, Microsoft says the following:
“If you are looking to file or dispute a takedown notice by posting to this repository, please STOP :stop_sign: because we do not accept Pull Requests or other contributions to this repository.
Please note that re-posting the exact same content that was the subject of a takedown notice without following the proper process outlined below is a violation of GitHub's DMCA Policy and Terms of Service. If you commit or post content to this repository that violates our Terms of Service, we will delete that content and may suspend access to your account as well.”
Illegal or Not?
If you're unfamiliar with YouTube-DL, it is a tool for internet video download commands. It is not an illegal service but it is prohibited under section 1201 of US copyright law because it allows users to circumvent copyrights.
Many fans responded to Microsoft's initial action by saying YouTube-DL is a legitimate tool. In fact, those YouTube-DL users claim the software is a fair use tool that also helps to download proprietary content or back up videos.
Public Knowledge legal Director John Bergmayeh fell on Microsoft's side and says YouTube-DL is in violation of US laws. He says it is used to “circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube” and to “reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by [RIAA's] member companies without authorization for such use.”
It will be interesting to see how this situation develops. I guess some users will continue to post the code despite Microsoft's ban hovering over them.