Legal Video Downloads: YouTube goes Offline

Feb 17, 2009

Until now, watching YouTube videos offline has been an awkward business, possible only with Firefox plugins or similar contraptions. Now, with the help of Creative Commons licenses, this could soon change.

A blog article entitled "YouTube goes Offline" explains the strategy. The video platform wants to promote free content, and in future allow its users to download videos for offline viewing - a wide spread wish amongst YouTube fans that could now be made possible with the use of a Creative Commons license.

YouTube Product Manager Thai Tran writes in the blog; "Many video creators on YouTube want their work to be seen far and wide. They don't mind sharing their work, provided that they get the proper credit." The Creative Commons license is a way of fulfilling both free distribution and the appropriate naming of names. In a post on his blog, Lawrence Lessig, creator of the Commons Licenses welcomes the move by YouTube.

Google partners will be given the choice of offering videos for free or for a small surcharge probably to be paid via Google Checkout, with Google making different licenses available. Google cites various University projects offering free student lectures as examples and some of its commercial partners are experimenting with the possibilities for advertising channels.

On the practical side, YouTube will in future have a "download" button below its videos, with a "My Purchases" tab under "My Videos". Still in the testphase, the whole concept is being discussed here.

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