GitHub has closed the repository for youtube-dl, the tool used in many apps to download videos from YouTube and other websites

A legal request from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to GitHub has caused 18 projects related to youtube-dl, the most used tool to download YouTube videos, disappear from the Microsoft platform. GitHub has removed both the main repository and 17 other forks related to the famous download project.

A letter was sent from the RIAA to GitHub on October 23 asking to close repositories related to youtube-dl, which they say has a clear purpose of illusion of technological protection measures:

“The clear purpose of this source code is to (i) circumvent technology protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube, and (ii) reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use.”

A change without effect for many applications, if YouTube does not move more tab

In itself, youtube-dl is a command line tool that is used for much more than downloading content from YouTube, although in that sense its name may not be the most appropriate. As a bookstore it does not violate copyright rules, but the RIAA claims that its code includes examples of YouTube downloads such as Icona Pop, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift.

Now, youtube-dl could change its name and remove any reference to copyrighted content to go back to a GitHub repository that can’t be taken down by a DMCA notice, if what the RIAA says is true. However, the problem at the moment is that many applications that make use of their libraries, for the moment they lose the source with which to continue updating.

For those users still using the current youtube-dl code, what could happen is that YouTube modifies its guts so that the downloads of its contents fail, at which point the tool would become useless. Other forks or successors that are just as popular will surely appear soon. At the moment, you can find repositories that have not crashed or have been updated after the crash.