Is It Legal to Download YouTube Videos?

It answers if it is legal or illegal to download YouTube videos.

“I want to download a few videos and put them on my tablet. So, I can watch them anywhere. I have no intention of distributing them, or sharing them with others. It’s just for my own, personal use. Anyway, is it legal to download YouTube videos?” – From Yahoo Answers

It’s explicitly permitted to share or embed YouTube videos on internet but the question “Is it legal to download YouTube videos?” always makes people confused. Some of you know precisely the illegality to download YouTube videos for copying, reproducing, selling or other commercial uses, while no one is sure if it violates laws to download videos from YouTube for personal use. And in this article, the confusing question “Is downloading YouTube videos legal?” will be settled.

Is It Legal to Download YouTube Videos?
The words from YouTube “Terms of Service” tell:

“You should not download any Content unless you see a ‘download’ or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content.”

The content here refers to videos which are subject to copyright and other intellectual property rights under the law. In other words, it breaks YouTube rules when downloading copy-protected videos. In addition, recently, YouTube has sent a threatening message to TubeNinja, an online video downloader service to stop the activities for it violates ToS of both the site and API.

Now, you almost deem that it is illegal to download YouTube videos because you can hardly find out a video with a download button or link. Don’t just jump to conclusion. YouTube grants something called “Fair Use” leading you to download and use copy-righted videos without getting permission from copyright owners in some cases. Also, you’re quite safe to take advantage of a download service without adopting YouTube API.

  1. If you download and reuse YouTube videos as material for research, criticism, commentary, teaching or news reporting, your use is fair use.
  2. Give credit to copyright owners to transfer the protected YouTube video into fair use.
  3.  Some creative video makers need to download YouTube videos and add original materials to form a new video, for example parody of hit songs, films for entertainment or non-profit only. It can be taken as fair use.
  4. In addition, you’d better post the statement “no copyright infringement intended” when you use YouTube videos.
  5. Certainly, it is legal to download YouTube videos which belong to you, for example the show recorded from a TV, music video purchased from iTunes, or movie video ripped from DVD. (Rip a DVD to YouTube | Convert YouTube to iTunes)

Even though YouTube cannot track and ban you if you download any videos from YouTube using a third-party video download program without signing in your account, it’s better get YouTube videos under Fair Use circumstances.

Updated: October 25, 2017 — 5:29 pm

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