Last week, a German court ruled that Uberspace is liable for hosting the website of youtube-dl, an open-source tool that allows people to download content from YouTube. The owner of the hosting company warns that this “ridiculous” and “devastating” verdict opens the door to privatized censorship.
In 2020, the RIAA infuriated many players in the open source community by targeting YouTube-ripping tool youtube-dl.
The RIAA sent a takedown notice to GitHub, alleging that the software bypassed technological protection measures, in violation of the DMCA.
GitHub initially complied but later changed course. After consulting legal experts, including those at the EFF, it restored the youtube-dl repository. GitHub also launched a million-dollar defense fund to assist developers in similar disputes.
Targeting Youtube-dl’s Host
This episode was a massive setback for the music industry, which had been fighting stream-ripping tools for years. However, instead of laying down their arms, the music companies went after Uberspace, youtube-dl’s website hosting company in Germany.
A few days ago this lawsuit resulted in a clear victory for Sony Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music. The district court of Hamburg essentially ruled that youtube-dl violates the law as it bypasses YouTube’s technological protection measures.
Going one step further, the court also concluded that as a host, Uberspace can be held liable for youtube-dl’s activity. The hosting provider received a takedown notice for the website in the past but continued to host it. According to Uberspace, the software wasn’t clearly illegal but the court ruled that the company should have known better.
With the dust beginning to settle, TorrentFreak spoke with Uberspace owner Jonas Pasche, who has decided to appeal the ruling. According to Pasche, the court made a big mistake that could have far-reaching consequences….