In the midst of their ongoing fight against the popular open source software programme Youtube-dl, large music brands are going after Uberspace, the company that hosts the official Youtube-dl homepage. According to the plaintiffs, Sony, Universal, and Warner A tool bypasses YouTube’s “rolling encryption” technology, which a German court ruled to be unlawful in the year 2017.
In October 2020, the RIAA incited a furore in the media by taking the YouTube-ripping software Youtube-dl from GitHub.
The RIAA has cited the anti-circumvention clauses in the DMCA and claimed this tool can be utilised to download music from YouTube in violation of copyright.
There is no case law supporting it in the United States. The RIAA relied on a decision of the Hamburg Regional Court in a similar case. The court ruled YouTube’s “rolling cipher” ought to be considered as a legitimate technological security measure in accordance with EU law. Any attempt to circumvent it, consequently, is a form of violation.
However, GitHub later restored the programme and put $1 million into the takedown defence fund.
Threats were also sent out to other people.
The RIAA’s attempt to eliminate YouTube-Dl from GitHub made headlines because the move was already taking place for weeks prior to that in Germany. The legal firm Rasch collaborates with a variety of prominent music industry players, and it was their representation that cease-and-desist requests were made to the local hosting company, Uberspace.
The RIAA complained that YouTube was hosting the official YouTube-DL website, despite the fact that YouTube-DL itself is hosted by a different company.
” We did not have the software installed on our systems, so I thought it absurd to include us in this matter. A lawyer who specialises in IT law should be more aware, “Jonas Pasche from Uberspace stated at the moment.
Then comes a lawsuit.
In an email exchange today, Uberspace told TorrentFreak that, in the wake of the cease-and-desist order in October of 2020, three major labels are now suing the company from Germany.
In their complaint, Sony Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music broadly maintain the structure they outlined in their prior cease-and-desist announcement ( pdf, via NetzPolitik) that referred to the decision made by Hamburg Regional Court. In another instance in the year 2017, Hamburg Regional Court via a preliminary injunction
In the opinion of the companies, YouTube-dl is a threat to their business and allows customers to access their artists’ copies of their works, despite YouTube’s technical restrictions. In the end, Uberspace should not play an active role in the tool’s activities through hosting its site in the event that it doesn’t want to be held accountable as well.
Does the lawsuit have legs, and what’s the purpose of it?
“We aren’t convinced that the lawsuit is justifiable,” says Uberspace chief Jonas Pasche in comments to TorrentFreak.
” YouTube blocks users from downloading certain media, which they use to protect YouTube movies and music DRM.” They don’t utilise that technology to allow downloads quite easily. “YouTube-dl is simply a special browser, but you wouldn’t stop Firefox simply because you make use of it to download the music content on YouTube.”
As per one Uberspace attorney, the purpoYouTube blocks users from downloading certain media, which is used to protect YouTube movies and music from DRM.” They do not use that technology to allow downloads.As per one Uberspace attorney, the purpose of the suit is to establish a kind of precedent, or “fundamental decision.” If the case is successful, other companies might be required to intervene in similar difficult legal circumstances.
The alleged illegality of Youtube-dl is controversial. While YouTube’s terms and conditions generally prohibit downloading, in Germany it is possible to create an individual copy of the content and local rights group GEMA charges fees for that. Additionally, the moment users upload videos to YouTube under the Creative Commons license, for instance, they are agreeing with other members of the community who make use of the content.
“Even in the event that YouTube does not offer the ability to download videos from the beginning,” the videos aren’t protected from copy theft, says former EU MP Julia Reda of the Society for Freedom Rights ( GFF) to NetzPolitik.
“Not only does YouTube pay licencing costs for its music, but we all have to pay for the privilege of private copying, in the form of a device fee that is charged for every purchase of storage media, smartphones, or other devices,” says Reda.
“Despite that double payout, Sony, Universal, and Warner Music want to prevent us from copying YouTube videos locally on our HDD.”
The issue of whether the YouTube “rolling code” is (or isn’t) the result of a security measure is currently the most talked about and frequently discussed issue in a lawsuit brought by YouTube-ripping website Yout.com against the RIAA in the United States. In the midst of more than a year of conflicting factions, we are still no closer to reaching an agreement.