January 16, 2009  ·  Lessig


Notice an important new feature in the world of YouTube — a “Click to download” link. YouTube is rolling this out slowly, initially with content that aspires to be consistent with principles of open government. I’m told it will be offered more generally. In any case, it is an important development. There have always been hacks for slurping down YouTube videos. But it is a valuable step that YouTube encourage and support this sharing.

  • http://www.owlboy.com/ Owlboy

    It is odd this took so long to show up. Google video always had this feature. And if you look at the URL you are downloading from, it is actually a googlevideo URL.

  • http://AfterEffectsandPhotoshop.com Jeff Foster

    I agree that this is a great feature! Too many times ‘net connections tend to be a bit sluggish and starting/stopping video playback gets annoying. Since the videos are already branded and publicly available for viewing I don’t see any real reason NOT to make them available for offline viewing and sharing as well.

  • http://www.worksafebc.com WorkSafeBC

    This is great news! We currently offer downloads on our website, but it’s a lot of extra work to encode them in the 3 formats we offer (wmv, mov, m4v).

  • Gabe

    Now we got *to push* YouTube to adopt Creative Commons licensing a la Flickr.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/WYW Lamar Morgan

    Google Video has always had this clickable feature? Well, doesn’t Google own Youtube? If that is true, then why has it taken Youtube so long to incorporate this feature?

  • Matthew

    Wonder if the terms of use will change. Currently section 5, part A prohibits downloads:
    “Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only and may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, broadcast, displayed, sold, licensed, or otherwise exploited for any other purposes whatsoever without the prior written consent of the respective owners.”

  • http://www.cellsea.com Dave

    The company i work for has a free online video editor/converter(http://video.cellsea.com), if this is true, that is a really good news for us.

  • http://www.activr.com hami

    awesome announcement, how long it may take exactly .. !

  • http://www.astorandblack.com/ Suits

    I agree this is a great feature. I have been using you tube downloaders for a while now. I wonder where this is going to bring us

  • http://nikusan.net Daniel Nixon

    I agree this is great to see. I’m disappointed that they decided to assume the presence of a mouse/pointing device though. This is simple stuff people!

  • http://www.ufoclips.tv Ted LePat

    Hopefully they will add the option to only to search videos with download as an option. Like UFO Clips for download.

  • http://www.dariosalvelli.com Dario Salvelli

    Dear Lawrence, yes, it is a great feature but: can u see the new policy about music lincensing on videos? YouTube apply the mute and block the audio if in your video ithere is a song that music label don’t want. I’d like to see your post about it. Thanks, take care!

  • Smithwill

    With all the copyright implications, of course only applicable to the copyrighted content, this is a welcome addition. All data strives to be free as in freely available. It’s only when money and greed come into play that conditions are placed on the availability. This is why education is NOT free whether K-12 or beyond. Education is parsed/doled out at very considerable expense. Ironic. We (the media, academicians, politicos) talk about the value of education but nothing about the excessive costs to obtain it. K-12 is not about educating or teaching one how to learn. It’s really just social indoctrination and (compliant) citizen training. Don’t ask don’t tell is what our government run schools tries to instill in all its products (read: students). The fact our government officials are spending us into the ground meets with little resistance from a dumbed-down and disinterested electorate. ….exhale.

  • Blubble
  • http://match.com mitch

    im glad they have a “Click To Download” link, but why in the HELL would you put a picture of that nigger as the example?

  • john

    You totaly forgot the main one here:


    It knows all native YouTube video formats: HD, MP4, FLV, 3GP videos, multiple simultaneous downloads, preview video, auto start download, skip already downloaded files, clipboard monitoring, drag & drop from IE / Firefox, proxy support, etc. Program size only 39Kb!!

    I use it a lot!

  • http://www.lessig.org/2009/01/really-great-news-from-youtube/ ahmed

    I have no comments :)