The Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) wants to have it’s cake and eat it too. Used to be if you wanted to sell your music, you made a record and sold it in stores. People would buy it- and the artist and label would get paid (note- the labels made way more than the artists). There were costs of pressing records, printing album jackets, shipping etc. Then, for “marketing” they paid radio stations to play some albums. That was in the old days. Now, Alphabet, owner of Google and Youtube- provide a free platform for them to distribute their material. They make videos and put them up for FREE! Then, they claim, you can watch, but not download- not just their content, but ALL content.
This is ludicrous. If you want to build a platform to distribute your music videos, and charge per view, go right ahead, but leave the rest of us alone.
Citizen journalism, like what I do here, depends on being able to download and edit together lots of content that’s on Youtube. Youtube DL was the tool I used. News stories, bodycam footage, video of current events. I’m not a billion dollar news gathering operation, with the ability to send a camera man and a reporter to everything that happens in Dayton or beyond. In order to tell my stories and support them, I have to be able to download anything from interviews to school board meetings, so I can edit and tell a story.
When I need music, I get it from Youtube’s royalty free music library, or other royalty free libraries I’ve purchased. I don’t go get the latest “Kid and Play” song and use it illegally- and yet, the RIAA wants to take away my journalism tools.
Luckily, the Freedom of the Press Foundation understands the importance of this tool;
In fact, youtube-dl is a powerful general purpose media tool that allows users to make local copies of media from a very broad range of sites. That versatility has secured it a place in the toolkits of many reporters, newsroom developers, and archivists. For now, the code remains available to download through youtube-dl’s own site, but the disruption of its development hub and the RIAA saber-rattling jeopardizes both the future of the software and the myriad journalistic workflows that depend on it.
Numerous reporters told Freedom of the Press Foundation that they rely on youtube-dl when reporting on extremist or controversial content. Øyvind Bye Skille, a journalist who has used youtube-dl at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and as a fact checker with Faktisk.no, said, “I have also used it to secure a good quality copy of video content from Youtube, Twitter, etc., in case the content gets taken down when we start reporting on it.” Skille pointed to a specific instance of videos connected to the terrorist murder of a Norwegian woman in Morocco. “Downloading the content does not necessarily mean we will re-publish it, but it is often important to secure it for documentation and further internal investigations.”
I’ve not found a petition for you to sign online yet- but, the source code is hosted on Git-Hub, which Microsoft acquired in 2018 for $7.5B in stock. The Software Freedom Conservancy has asked that Microsoft resign from the RIAA because of their compliance with this request. If you find one, let me know.
There is no way I could have told this story, about the torture of inmates at the Montgomery County Jail while restrained, without Youtube DL. Note- I also made my raw footage available so that other news outlets could use it to tell the story- and they did. The raw footage has as many or more views than my edited piece. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE914mHsxMel35GPSSkd5igcUsLucwO3g