YouTube Slowly Kills External Video Ripping

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YouTube is reportedly shutting down third-party services that allow users to download videos for offline viewing. The move comes as the video-sharing Website announced last week that content providers can offer paid downloads for their videos.

While YouTube is "testing" the paid download feature with select partners, the Google-owned video sharing Website is also slowly disabling external services that enable users to save a copy of a video on their computers for offline viewing.

The first victim of YouTube's shutdown was TechCrunch's video download tool, one of the most popular among users. On February 13, one day after YouTube announced the test program for paid video downloads, TechCrunch's tool was rendered useless.

This morning I tested several other third-party tools and plug-ins used to rip YouTube videos.,,, VideoDownloader,,, and are among many of the Websites affected. Even the Firefox Greasemonkey Download YouTube Video script got disabled. It appears that the blockage is made through code changes in the YouTube site's infrastructure. Still, the disabled tools are reportedly trying to find a hack around YouTube's modifications.

YouTube's terms of service forbid external video ripping in section 5: "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." (Read the full TOS)

However, YouTube's decision to block external rippers is not too surprising. As the video-sharing website seeks new ways to make money, unauthorized third-party downloads -- besides conflicting with the site's TOS -- won't help Google raise cash if free download options are available alongside YouTube's own paid downloads.

This story, "YouTube Slowly Kills External Video Ripping" was originally published by PCWorld.

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