In recent weeks, we have been charting the saga around Microsoft-owned GitHub and the YouTube-DL (youtube-dl) tool. Specifically, GitHub removed the tool for violating copyrights, causing a storm of protest from users. After previously threatening to ban users for reposting YouTube-dl, GitHub has relented.
In a blog post, the code repository says YouTube-dl has now been restored to the platform. GitHub says the initial removal was in compliance with the law following a DMCA takedown of the tool. According to the company, new information shows the popular tool does not circumvent copyright laws.
“Our actions were driven by processes required to comply with laws like the DMCA that put platforms like GitHub and developers in a difficult spot. And our reinstatement, based on new information that showed the project was not circumventing a technical protection measure (TPM), was inline with our values of putting developers first.”
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.
GitHub says no DCMA notice on the platform is necessarily permanent. In fact, projects get the chance to reorganize and remove any content that may be causing an infringement. Thanks to a patch to YouTube-dl, it now falls within the company's rules.
This is a quick change of tactic from GitHub. Just a week ago, the company was actively threatening to ban any user who re-uploaded the tool to the platform:
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.”
Either way, YouTube-dl is now available again.