This page will discuss the viewing, downloading, and/or editing of videos. The scope will be both Laclin and other Linux distros. The target audience will be Old Coders.
Presently, there are just notes on a couple of FOSS tools and copyright law.
To download YT videos, Laclin uses and recommends a CLI program named youtube-dl. youtube-dl can be installed in most Linux distros. Details are beyond the scope of this page.
There's an unrelated and very nice GUI named “minitube” that can browse and theoretically download YT videos. However, downloads require that the program be recompiled and this part isn't working in Laclin regardless.
Laclin uses and recommends minitube for YT browsing. It can also be used to assist with downloads as follows.
There's a right-click operation labeled “Open the YouTube Page”. If you stumble across a YT video in minitube that you'd like to download, use that feature to open the YT page, copy the page URL, and run youtube-dl at the CLI level using the page URL as a parameter.
If your copy of youtube-dl is up to date, this should get you a downloaded copy of the video.
minitube comes standard with Laclin. However, it may break in the future due to changes in YT APIs.
minitube should be in the repos for some distros. As of Fall 2021, there was a homepage at the following link as well. The link may have broken since then:
4. YouTube download legal issues.
This part isn't legal advice and may be mistaken in places. Comments to this email address are welcome: ip at oldcoder.org
Intellectual property rights-holders try to conflate copyright law and licenses. The two things aren't the same.
The take-away in the context of YouTube is that if YouTube — or any website — offers a video to the general public for viewing in a web browser and a rights-holder doesn't object to that, the rights-holder arguably has little right to object to the use of youtube-dl, minitube, or any program to download the video.
The problem for rights-holders is that copyright law doesn't include the concept of a time interval.
What rights-holders would like to do is state that it's legal for you to download a video for the time needed to watch it but not to keep it for a longer time interval.
That type of rule is enforceable at the civil litigation level as a license issue. We don't believe that, as of 2021, copyright law in any major nation makes any provision for time-limited possession of copies.
In the U.S., some provisions of DMCA seem to be attempts to do an end run around this point. We're not certain that those provisions are valid in the context of videos that are offered to the public.
Not when the primary difference between a permitted download and a prohibited download is a time limit on possession.
In short, we believe that youtube-dl, minitube in download mode, and other FOSS tools that can download videos offered to the public are, or should be, perfectly legal, both to possess and to use.
Distribution of videos downloaded by such tools is another matter. It can be quite illegal to distribute videos once you've downloaded them.
5. More about minitube.
As of 2021, the default mode for minitube is to permit downloads of only a small number of YT videos. In theory, you can build a copy of minitube that has full download capability. To do so, you just add the setting shown below to the qmake command line that's used at build configure time:
Note: This may or may not work in the future. The problem is that it doesn't completely work now. When we tried it, we observed the following error at runtime:
QObject::connect: No such signal Video::gotStreamUrl(QUrl)