The YouTube-DL Takedown

GitHub has removed the ability to access youtube-dl's source code due to a DMCA.

On the 23rd of October, GitHub received a DMCA against the youtube-dl authors, claiming the software infringed copyright Laws. While I fundamentally disagree with this, let's talk more about it.

First off, it should go without saying that this source code needs to be held elsewhere, outside of the control of GitHub or GitLab. We've seen an increasing amount of Cease and Desist notices being sent to GitHub, with a staggering 124 (!) in October of 2020.

Secondly, copyright claims such as these are harmful to genuine software development. While these claims do hold some truth, some say it is fundamentally unjust to prevent access to an educational source code repository.

In light of distributed source code hosting platforms such as Git, thousands of developers have the public domain youtube-dl source code stored locally, hence the claim to remove the source code is impossible.

Nevertheless, there are still ways to access this source code. For starters, the youtube-dl module is still available on PyPi, a package hosting platform for Python. Also, Gitee (a Chinese Git platform) contains a copy of youtube-dl in its entirety.

I would encourage you all to create mirrors on alternative Git hosting platforms. I'm more than happy to update this article with any further information.