The Recording Industry Association of America has filed a DMCA claim against youtube-dl, a noteworthy Linux command line tool used to permanently download YouTube videos locally. The DMCA claims that “the clear purpose” of this application is to:

  • circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube, and
  • reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use
`youtube-dl` has been completely blown the fuck out by the DMCA. Or has it?

In the complaint, it lists three songs:

But the question is, how many people savvy enough to use Linux and acquire youtube-dl in the first place are also pedestrian enough to pirate Justin Timberlake songs that they can listen to for free anyway? Out of all seven billion people on planet Earth, I imagine under a dozen people are really that pleb. In all likelihood, this has basically nothing to do with wanting to suppress piracy of music you can listen to for free, and everything to do with wanting to control the political narrative during America’s election season by social media censorship. After all, Election Day is less than a fortnight away. Considering this tool has been up for years now without issue, Occam’s razor leads directly toward the explanation that piracy of the freely viewable is a pretext, but not the actual reason.

So what can be done about politically-motivated GitHub censorship? Fortunately, GitHub and Git are not the same thing; Git is a version control program and GitHub is merely a Git host. There are many free and cheap Git hosts. Here are a few of them:

Additionally, if you feel like starting your own Git host, there is more than open source Git hosting program available free for download:

It’s very unlikely that we have seen the last of youtube-dl, but this is another iteration of the lesson to be wary of Big Tech. If you have a repository hosted on GitHub that you suspect might be even vaguely controversial, it might be a good idea to move that repository elsewhere or start your own host for it, as Pleroma has.