Today afternoon, after a notice received from Recording Industry Association of America or RIAA, one of the most common pieces of software to download YouTube’s videos, youtube-dl, was removed from GitHub.

If you want to back-up material on your personal Youtube account or save some of your favourite videos of Youtube for offline use, many of the sites with videos such as Vimeo, CNN and many others, use youtube-dl as the most secure and detailed platform for downloading videos from Youtube. You can convert your download to almost any format, not just basic download functions, but also an MP3 with only the audio track of a video.


Like so many things in our life, Youtube-dl can be used legally and illegally, particularly because YouTube has extended its paid music subscription service. On Friday afternoon, the RIAA released an announcement from GitHub to delete the Youtube-dl open source code and all related mirrors, which is the Digital Millennium Copyright act.

One of the primary foundations for the RIAA claim is that Youtube-dl seems deliberately intended to allow copyrighted works to be downloaded, with videos from Icona Pop, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, being used to test the tool ‘s functionality, an assertion that we have been able to autonomously check.

This take-down notice does not necessarily spell a definitive end to youtube-dl. GitHub would often automatically delete any source code project that receives a DMCA warning like this, although the developers of the project would have the ability to file a counterclaim in the hope of restoring GitHub ‘s status to youtube-dl. We’re going to keep an eye on the situation as it evolves. 

In the meantime, those who still have youtube-dl on their computer, or can get it from a mirror, can continue to use it as usual. The larger issue is that Youtube-dl is likely to stop receiving updates for the time being, and any improvements made by YouTube or other video providers may theoretically cause the tool to stop to work. Since Youtube-dl is a fairly well-known and strong tool with over 72,000 GitHub stars, there are probably many other tools that rely on it for their YouTube-related capabilities.


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