Stream ripping (also called stream recording) is the process of saving data streams to a file. Stream ripping is most often used to save audio or video streaming media from websites such as YouTube. The process is sometimes referred to as destreaming.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has taken stances against tools that are, in particular, used to rip content from YouTube, citing that their use to download music from the website and convert them to audio formats constitutes a violation of their members' copyrights. The RIAA has targeted various stream ripping websites (including the websites themselves, and listings for them via search engines) under the anti-circumvention provisions of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), under its claim that a "rolling cipher" used by YouTube to generate the URL for the video file itself constitutes a technical protection measure, since it is "intended to inhibit direct access to the underlying YouTube video files, thereby preventing or inhibiting the downloading, copying, or distribution of the video files". Unlike the more common forms of takedowns performed under the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, there is no scheme of counter-notices for such takedowns. These actions have faced criticism, noting that there are legitimate uses for these services beyond ripping music, such as downloading video content needed to utilize one's right to fair use, or explicit rights of reuse (such as free content licenses) granted by a content creator.
In October 2020, the RIAA similarly issued takedowns to code hosting service GitHub targeting youtube-dl, an open source tool for similar purposes, also citing circumvention of the aforementioned "rolling cipher", as well as usage examples in its readme file that "expressly suggests" its use with copyrighted works.
On November 16, 2020, GitHub later reinstated youtube-dl and subsequently released a related blog post with more information on the status of the takedown.
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- Masnick, Mike. "Can Someone Explain To The RIAA That SOPA Didn't Actually Pass?". Techdirt. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
- "RIAA Delists YouTube Rippers From Google Using Rare Anti-Circumvention Notices". TorrentFreak. 2019-11-09. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
- "MP3 Stream Rippers Are Not Illegal Sites, EFF Tells US Government". TorrentFreak. 2017-10-21. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
- "dmca/2020-10-23-RIAA.md at master · github/dmca". GitHub. 2020-10-23. Archived from the original on 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- Cimpanu, Catalin. "RIAA blitz takes down 18 GitHub projects used for downloading YouTube videos". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
- Cushing, Tim (2020-10-26). "RIAA Tosses Bogus Claim At Github To Get Video Downloading Software Removed". Techdirt. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
- "Standing up for developers: youtube-dl is back". The GitHub Blog. 2020-11-16. Retrieved 2021-04-11.