Yet another discussion about copyright and downloading youtube videos


You cannot “strike” against an entity you do not work for. You can boycott an organization to work toward a change, but you will never see a boycott where people steal merchandise from the object of the boycott.


As a professional classical musician, with five years of university, two degrees, and forty years of experience at various levels of the entertainment business - I respectfully ask you (and all) to consider the following scenario:

Your twelve-year old daughter runs through the door after school one day and, in breathless excitement says, “Daddy - I want to play the violin in the school orchestra. Please please please!?!?”

So you think this certainly isn’t a bad idea - so you take your beautiful daughter down to the local music shop on Main Street where you rent her a basic student-model violin kit for a few hundred dollars for the semester. A worthwhile investment in making her well-rounded for her future.

Fine –

She takes basic free lessons from the school music teacher, and plays in the student orchestra where she immediately excels and seems to have a special talent.

The following school year, the music teacher calls you to say that your daughter has exceeded his basic skills to teach her violin, and urges you to consider a private teacher.

After some family discussion, you agree - and she begins taking weekly lessons with a local professional…for about $75.00 an hour. – And, after a very short time, her new teacher tells you that your daughter is progressing rapidly, and it’s time she upgrades from that rented “student” violin to an instrument which will serve her much better.

Her desire and ethusiasm are unquestionable, so - with the help f her new teacher - you find her a better “entry-level” instrument – for about $7,500…and she’ll also need a new bow - costing about $1,500.

She is now on her way –

Workshops, summer music camp, playing with the select youth symphony in the next town – all of which requires your time, attention and - of course - money.

She is now ready to graduate high school with honors and many awards – and has her eye set on one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country. – After auditioning, she is accepted as one of the new select freshman - where she will now learn under the tutelage and guidance of a world-reknown teacher and soloist.

Four years of college, room & board, books, materials, etc. - And, although she does receive a little scholarship assistance - the bulk of this expense comes out of your wallet -

And - oh yes – She has outgrown that “entry-level” violin and bow, and now needs a respectable instrument if she is to move up to the next level. - Her new teacher refers you to a couple of Luthiers, where you find the perfect instrument for her at about $20,000 - plus a new bow for another $4,000.

So your daughter works hard - practices diligently and becomes part of the rich musical community and scene in town.

Four years later she is ready to graduate and begins to free-lance around, when she meets a few other musicians - and together they form a new and exciting group, playing classical and jazz crossover arrangements which they write themselves with much time, effort and rehearsal - for which they are paid nothing.

In the meanwhile, your daughter is saving up to buy a better instrument, which she needs to move ahead - and will cost upwards of $50,000.

The group begins to play in small bars and clubs - and they decide to save up their own money to record and produce their own CD as a means of marketing themselves.

They pay for the recording studio, the equipment, the engineers, editing publicity and jacket photos, copyright and the pressing of about 3,000 copies - which they hope to sell for about ten dollars a piece.

And then I go on the internet and download it for free from a file sharing site - paying her nothing – and also burn copies for all my friends.

How does that work for you ?


How does anything on my list endorse or support this?


Edit: Comment removed.


It doesn’t really - and I apologize for inferring that.

I get a bit ramped up over this topic, and used your post as a springboard for my rant, and should have directed it elsewhere.

Your points are all valid and well-taken - it’s the general topic which got me going.

Most people are unaware of the incredible amount of time, effort, sacrifice and expense it takes to produce a work of art which becomes somewhat successful – especially when held up against many failures which precede it -

If I came on this site asking for a serial key for a well-known piece of software, I would be severely scolded by the moderators and owners of the site (and rightly so) - the thread would be closed and locked, and I would receive a warning not to do that again or risk being banned -

I’m wondering the same thing would happen if I asked if anybody knew a file-sharing site where I can download the latest Taylor Swift album ?

Anyway – sorry for the misunderstanding – my bad.


@Straspey, the same thing should happen. My curiosity was piqued by @Wilsontp drawing the OP out into a “reasoned” discussion WHY he felt it was OK to proceed to break his agreement with the TOS of the site. It turns out his reason was “because I wanted to and I can”, which puts this poster back into the same pile as those who ask us to help circumvent protections.


No worries. It’s understandable; I get frustrated, too, when I think of how people don’t consider copying a record to be the same as stealing a physical product. I don’t see a difference. “He won’t miss it” is not an excuse for theft, even if the owner really wouldn’t miss the stolen item.

The one thing I really want to see fixed is the orphaned work problem. This is becoming a huge problem with software; older programs (mostly games) are being lost, because it’s not legal to copy or distribute them without permission - but with no way to contact a Copyright holder, software simply disappears. This seems to be happening mostly with titles where the producer has gone out of businesses, and the corporation was dissolved. Someone owns the work, but it’s hard to figure out who that someone is when there’s no paperwork.

This can also be increasingly said of works published on the Internet; when forums and blogs allow for anonymous comments, it can be impossible to trace back the ownership of a work. Doing something as simple as quoting an online blog post can be impossible when there’s no way to contact the author, since the email account used to register the account has long since gone dark.

As to musical experience…all I’ll say is that I miss being in an orchestra. :smile:


The interesting thing is that Copyright law does acknowledge the Public Good when it comes to Fair Use exemptions: you can use a portion of a concert for a review, for example. Or you can use a clip from a TV show in a Film Studies class. But you can’t legally make a copy of a DVD to play on your iPad because of the DMCA. What’s even more frustrating is that the copy would be perfectly legal, if it weren’t for the busted copy protection schemes. (Actually, there are some ambiguities there, and while I think you can actually copy the movie, you can’t create software to help you copy the movies. Weird.)

What I find interesting is that the movie industry has seen this need and actually moved to address it. You can now almost always find a digital version of new movies, and with Ultraviolet, you can pull movies in to your digital devices. So the idea that content creators won’t listen to consumers rings kind of hollow.

This doesn’t really resolve the underlying issues: that consumers want more freedom with digital goods, while studios want more control over those same products.

In the end, I think we’ll get there, with a model that looks a lot like iTunes and Steam. But it will take a while longer.


I often run away from politics and bureaucracy. First time I’ve heard of “Civil Disobedience”, so not really sure if I’m doing that. I’d sure call it nonviolent resistance. I’m definetly not “publicizing” it anywhere else than here, nor did I know I had a cause. I’m not suggesting changes should or must be made, I just believe they should. I’m not sure I care that much, since I rather focus in other things in my life.

But I appreciate you, who knows a lot more about the law, is actually worried about this, and thinking on how to improve it!

Yes, if the organization resulted in a significant reduction, indeed. I just don’t believe it would. My point was even an organized one wouldn’t be big enough.

I like your points! Returning orphaned works in short period sounds like a good idea, but I think even “public domain” shouldn’t be required to exist. Ideally, and probably utopically, everything should be public domain.

The important part of copyright was tracking the importance to society of any creative work in order to give it proper value and compensate the work done there… As to create incentives for people to generate creative work. Incentives.

Maybe we don’t need those incentives any more. There’s a lot of people with enough free time creating ideas all the time. Today we may need incentives to filter them instead, and be able to choose which one is worth investing time and money.

I’m not so sure the way we make it possible to capitalize over a piece of creative work is working. Sure, there are some people like Bill Gates (yes, Windows is a creative work, mind you) can really make it a good use of our trust put in him (giving money for creative work), but most won’t. I rather not get too much into this, but let’s just say even those who can at least keep contributing with good work do invest way too much of that money into bad science.

Anyway, this is just part of one crazy idea I may have to think over for longer, and process it in a way to present in an easier way to digest and comprehend. And a bit offtopic too. :stuck_out_tongue:


Well, there’s so much to be said there I’m not even sure where to begin. I’ll try to keep it short.

First, regardless of how much you spent on your education, you should get paid for how much your contributions help others. We currently get paid by how much they pleases who have money, which isn’t too far off, but it is off.

Nobody cares how much you paid for your education. Or how much you invested in your project. And nobody should care. That was your choice.

Second, I am not talking, at all, about piracy. The theme did surge, since they come close by, but that was far from the point.

Third, I’m a programmer, and I advocate for open free software, regardless of it “harming” my work in the ways you describe.

Fourth, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry things aren’t simpler. Your daughter probably should be earning more money. And so many people out there as well. Life just isn’t fair. And that’s very sad very often. We’re trying to understand why and make it better. Most of us, at least.

I believe that’d be me. And I believe you haven’t been really reading the conversation. You could just have added a positive comment like @sunk818, it’d be a lot nicer. :wink:


You’re talking about a return to the Patronage system from the Classical era.

In a word: NO. We had that. It didn’t work. The current Copyright system was developed to get away from the kinds of (pardon my language) bullshit that artists had to put up with during that time.

The current system may have its flaws, but Copyrights were first invented specifically because of the need to protect books from being pirated. A publisher would spend a lot of money printing books on the newly-invented printing press, only to have someone else undercut his prices and make it impossible to pay the people actually responsible for creation of the work.

The mere fact that so many people feel entitled to consume content without paying in to the system today should give you an indication of how hard it would be to make a living wage for artists if there was no such thing as Copyright. Sure, artists who can perform live would have a way to make money (most modern bands’ primary income is from tours, not from record sales), but if you want to see how that system works for most artists, just go look at what happened to so many of the people we now call masters. However, simply put, the public will always take something for free, and the number of people who actually contribute financially will be small, compared to those who simply consume without contributing.


Exactly ! I could not have said it better, and I totally agree.

So, I’m curious about something -

I’ve been to websites which specialize in what the refer to as “Abandonware” – and I’ve always assumed (perhaps wrongly so) that the files available for download at places like that have, essentially, fallen off the copyright edge and are drifting across the internet, having been abandoned by their owners.

How does that differ from the files (games) to which you refer in your above quote ?

PS - Thanks for your gracious understanding regarding my bad reference to your post above.


What I was describing is what you’re calling Abandonware. The contents of those sites are still under Copyright, but nobody is actively asserting that Copyright, so the sites continue to distribute the works.

The thing to remember is this: A work is Copyrighted until the owner says it’s not, or until the Copyright expires. There are no exceptions. By law, you must obtain permission to copy a work or to prepare a derivative work. So abandoned titles are available to no one, legally speaking. The real problem with these works is that there’s no legal way to make them better: people can’t build sequels, remasters, or remakes. People can’t legally modify them for new operating systems or to fix broken DRM.

Abandanware sites are technically engaging in software piracy, but since the Copyright holders, by and large, have forgotten about those titles, the sites generally don’t get sued. In fact, companies do frequently locate old, abandoned titles on Abandonware sites and file takedown notices. It’s the “it’s only illegal if you get caught” mentality, and sites do routinely get “caught.” Fortunately, most Copyright holders are happy with the standard DMCA process and won’t go after the site for monetary damages.

The reason they get away with this behavior is the same lack of ownership that makes it impossible to license the works: there’s also no one to file lawsuits. So these works are freely distributed, despite the technical illegality of the distribution. The problem there is that it will only take one, effective lawsuit to shut down an archive and put its operator in some serious debt. That’s no way to operate.

So the tl;dr here is “It’s not legal, but nobody cares, until someone does. Then the site is in deep pudu.”


I had always been under the (ignorant and erroneous) assumption that that there was some
time limit, after which a piece of software could be deemed to have been “abandoned” by its owner, and therefor no longer protected under the copyright statutes.

They way some of those so-called Abandonware Sites present themselves, they’re actually doing a great service by offering “All your favorite old games you used to play on your Atari” – or something like that - and we should all be thankful to them.

I had no idea those softwares were still protected - and am glad to have learned this now.

What would seem odd to me is - I suspect if one were to actually ask for permission from the author of one of those old programs, they would be only too glad to grant it - happy in the knowledge that their creation from the 1980’s was still a source of fun and enjoyment for people today.

But - of course - we’d never know until we actually asked them.

And to think - I’ve been playing the original “Arkanoid” via Dosbox for a few months now - and was absolutely thrilled when I found it.


Maybe I am! In that paragraph alone. Even after reading about it, I don’t know. That’s the difference when you study a topic for longer. But I certainly didn’t say that’s what we must do. That was just a 1 paragraph idea. Also, maybe I’m not talking about Patronage. I think I meant incentives to the patrons. Anyway, that quote was quite out of context.

There you go. Maybe we still need laws for that, but the same kind of law makes little sense for digital distribution. And, from what I read, that’s what we’re still applying.

There’s a statistics for that. At least on advergames. Much less than 10% buy stuff in them, or, contribute with the creation in that way. 5% is a good number there. 1% is more common. That number doesn’t change much in other forms, I believe. And it can be broke down. 90% of those who do contribute, do it so with quite higher amounts. You can say half are medium fishes and half are big fishes. $1, then $5, then $20 or higher.

Anyway, again, the first point in this topic was about downloading free to watch youtube videos. I have my playlist online but videos disappear from it and I lose references. That’s the sole reason I want to keep them, but as long as I’m not trying to profit from it I think my reasons shouldn’t matter. I don’t know if I’m going to use any of them, or what I should do if I do want to eventually share it - maybe I just upload it again and wait for youtube to tell me - but even that shouldn’t matter.

Just like google page rank is based on real links, to prevent spam links; paying advertising should be, and probably is, based on real views, not the total “view number”. If they don’t already, they should do statistical analysis and pay per real amount of views. So one more view from me (while I’m logged in) in the same day wouldn’t count as much as a new viewer, which wouldn’t count as much as a new viewer who watched the whole thing, or the new viewer who also voted positive after watching the whole thing, or one that was logged in even. And if that’s how it’s done on youtube, it makes basically no difference if I’m viewing it online, offline or on a local copy.

In fact, as history has shown so many times, free distribution is the best form of marketing and the more people you reach the bigger it will be that 1% that will pay. So, making it difficult to distribute free content helps in no way to gain more money from it.

So tired of this discussion. I keep getting that same old feeling nobody is getting my point, or at least sharing my vision. Except you do look to share it a bit, @wilsontp :sunny:

Also, just to add this out there, the future with a cryptocurrency will make paying a very small amount to contribute with whatever content we consume so much easier and better for everyone that by then all this should be moot point anyway.


I keep thinking about downloading all the emulated Commodore 64 games I used to play as a teenager.

I actually have no problem with this practice; I know I’m busting @cawas 's chops about YouTube downloads, but even that’s more of a philosophy discussion than anything else. (As long as you’re not re-uploading videos or using them for public performance, I don’t think anyone really cares.)

That actually brings me to my next point:

That is absolutely wrong; I can endorse you saving videos that might otherwise disappear, but re-uploading stuff is a personal pet peeve of mine. A lot of people re-post videos to make money on the ad revenue. It’s a pathetic, predatory practice, and while I’m sure that’s not your intent, those people are pretty much the scourge of YouTube at the moment.

While you can argue that “it’s not harming anyone” when you download a video, re-distributing it online could actually be grounds for a Criminal Copyright prosecution. As in jail time.



The German composer, Richard Wagner, was famous for playing by his own rules too -

One of his best-known tactics was to sell the “Exclusive Publishing Rights” to his new operas to two different publishers at the same time – which was a little easier to get away with in 1860 –


I meant uploading it if it disappears. But yeah, I haven’t really thought about it… You’re right, it’s a bad idea. It’s better use it to remember and create a new one. Then upload it. That should be quite legal.


Absolutely. It’s good practice, too. I’ve done a few instructional videos here and there, and it seems that building those videos always makes you better at whatever you’re trying to show other people how to do.


Let me make a TL;DR here:

As long as you’re not re-uploading videos or using them for public performance, we don’t think anyone really cares if you download them.

Right @wilsontp? :slight_smile:

Also, if you want to upload them, don’t. Do this instead:

Use 'em to remember and create a new one. Then upload it. That should be quite legal.

So, here’s a link to a good video downloader I just found out about:

How can I download this video