In the wake of up and coming technology, a new realization that is dawning upon us is that we are not secure from infringement of online privacy. As easy as it is to use technology today, we must always remember that it is a tool, which can be used both ways, it can harm as much as it can do good. One of the standard examples is the removal of the Open Source YouTube Downloader by GitHub, a code hosting platform owned by Microsoft. The claim is that the youtube-dl was taken down after a takedown request issued by the Recording Industry Association of America was posted on the website citing breach of legal provisions.
This was one of the best available free downloaders that were being used by many YouTubers to download and archive their own videos. They have violently protested against the removal of the youtube-dl. However, the Recording Industry Association of America has stated that the youtube-dl was recording and disseminating the content owned by them without their permission. Some of the examples that they cited in this violation, as the song – I Love It owned by the Warner Music Company, the song Tunnel Vision by Justin Timberlake owned by Sony Music Company, and the song Shake It Off sung by Taylor Swift.
The premise stated for the removal of the Youtube downloader is that it was issuing content without authorization from the Youtube channels. However, while the potential for piracy has not been contested, many have argued saying any other downloader side can be used to open Youtube and copy and disseminate content without consent. So, why is the Open Source YouTube Downloader the only one in strict scrutiny and accused of committing such a violation just because a possibility exists that it could have been used for piracy?
The potential for misuse of a tool does not deny it its effectiveness and efficiency when used correctly and within the purview of the law. GitHub has not put up any response to solve these queries. What remains to be seen is whether the removal of the Youtube Downloader was within the purview of the law or not. Provisions will also have to be made to quell any illegal acts of piracy committed by using browsers from other open-source downloaders.
The examples issued by the RIAA are just a few of the acts accused to be piracy-related crimes. Some cases are crystal clear, whereas others are ambiguous and only state for a potential of misuse. It is up to us to draw up laws that allow for the benefit of all. Like the Open Source Youtube Downloader was of great use to those wishing to download and archive content from their own websites for free, there are many other cases where technology is extremely helpful. This is exactly why we need a clear-cut distinction to be drawn today before the world descends into anarchy post the advancement of sophisticated technology!