GitHub reinstates the youtube-dl repository and changes its policies to better protect developers in the future

On October 26, a request to GitHub by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) caused 18 projects to disappear from the Microsoft-owned repository platform for "promoting piracy": the popular youtube-dl video downloader and 17 other open source projects related to it.

GitHub made it clear not only that the action she had been forced to take was not amusingInstead, the youtube-dl developer community would count on your advice to deal with potential legal issues.

But now GitHub has announced its decision to restore the original youtube-dl repository after receiving additional information that allowed them to dismiss the DMCA claim filed by the RIAA.

In their statement they explain that they initially understood that the application could be violating section 1201 of the DMCA (US law for the defense of copyright):

"Section 1201 dates back to the late 1990s and he couldn't anticipate the various implications it has for the use of the software today."

"[...] makes it illegal to use or distribute technology that circumvents technical measures that control access to or copying of copyrighted works, even if that technology may be used in a way that does not constitute copyright infringement. "

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GitHub is convinced by the EFF

The key to GitHub's change of opinion lies in a letter they received from the EFF (Electronic Frontiers Foundation) in which they explained that youtube-dl never violated the DMCA, but on the contrary the RIAA misinterpreted the way both this tool and the YouTub itself worke so that it does not fall within the assumptions of legitimate use.

The EFF explains in its letter that the way in which youtube-dl accesses a video is indistinguishable for the portal from that of any normal user: there are no secret codes or back doors to get around ciphers and therefore section 1201 is inapplicable.

In the wake of this, GitHub (perhaps moved by embarrassment over its swift release to the RIAA) announced that will make several changes to its policies to prevent a similar case from happening again. For it:

  • All claims of copyright infringement linked to section 1201 will receive technical and legal review, even by third parties if necessary.

  • If the claim appears to be substantiated, developers will be given the opportunity to amend the code prior to disposal. And even after that, you will still be able to access repository data such as bug reports.

  • The company will create a defense fund for developers endowed with a million dollars that will be used to prevent them from giving in to the RIAA's demands just because they can't afford to fight a legal battle.

  • Finally, the company agrees to start lobbying to amend the DMCA.

Via | GitHub

Image | Bruce williams