YouTube Begins to Kill Off Video Download Tools

When we wrote about YouTube's paid download initiative, currently being tested, it should have been obvious that there are plenty of ways to download YouTube videos for free, so why would anyone pay for this? Thing is, when we wanted to download a video earlier, the downloader I tried (TechCrunch's, which has been around for years, and which pops up at or near the top when doing a Google search) didn't work. Uh, oh.

We wanted to download the video from YouTube because the YouTube video kept sitting there, with a apinner, rather than playing. It was probably due to the traffic, but it annoyed us. So, the desire to download it.

While other sites seemed to work (yes, we used another one), TechCrunch's failed. TechCrunch seemed to think it had been singled out,
It’s possible that YouTube was just disabling a certain technique of creating links to their video files that we happened to use, but it’s more likely that they singled us out (our tool has become very popular, and ranks second when you run a Google search for “download YouTube“).

When asked why our tool was being disabled, A YouTube spokesman referred us to this portion of the site’s Terms of Service (the company had a similar response when they
sent us a Cease and Desist back in 2006):

Section 5. Your Use of Content on the Site

Part B. You may access User Submissions for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the YouTube Website. You shall not copy or download any User Submission unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the YouTube Website for that User Submission.
It's not surprising that YouTube would begin cracking down. In fact, I wasn't aware of that ToS clause listed above. So will downloading YouTube videos now become as frowned upon (to put it mildly) as BitTorrent? Hard to believe that YouTube could close all the holes to downloading (there are so many ways, and many of them free, and still working, when we tried recently).

It's not even clear that people are going to want to pay for user-generated videos from YouTube. While Google continues to try to monetize YouTube, it's also true that Hulu, with far less traffic than YouTube, is reportedly catching up to YouTube in terms of revenue --- and fast, due to the fact its content is movies, TV shows, and the like.
Tags:  Google, YouTube