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Youtube VS. Germany (GEMA)


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Rhino Cracker

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I just wanted to anounce to you, that a few months ago, there was a large improvement for youtube users in Germany.

There was a long time battle between gema and youtube. Gema is an organization by our government which takes money from everyone/everything being able to serve "arts" (videos, texts, music, ...) and is supposed to give it to the artists. In that way (afaik...) we have "taxes" on paper, printers, every radio station, every video station made for the german market.
But in fact from some time on the GEMA went way too far. They started to charge artists offering their own songs on youtube. Or they went into pubs where some bands made concerts and charged the bar owners..... (which made a contract with the band of course, they got their money, they don't need any gema circling money through the government to them...)

This GEMA wanted youtube to pay a few cents for every video (containing music) a German watches. Youtube disagreed and saw the only chance to bypass penalties in blocking every video containing music for german users.
We, on the other hand, only saw "GEMA blocked this video in your country." for nearly EVERY music video we wanted to watch, which made us feel like living in a 3rd world country with working censorship* and raised agression against GEMA. (which, if you ask me, was exactly the plan of youtube").
The GEMA hardly disagreed and fought that "message" that THEY blocked the videos.
Youtube then changed the message to "We have to block this video in your country, because we cannot agree inn a legal battle with GEMA." - which didn't make GEMA very lucky but was after their fight about the first message.^^

In the end, (afaik) GEMA lowered their prices they wanted, Youtube raised their amount of advertising for videos tagged as "music" for german users and they found an agreement.
That's a big step for us because the age of every video disappearing after a few days has gone.^^




Another thing I wanted to announce about youtube:
There have been a variety of youtube downloaders in the past.
- Alot of websites which basically download the videos, reencode them, pack them into a new container** and offer a (sometimes much slower) download.
- Alot of download tools, some of them packed with bloatware, which oftenly do the same, just locally.
I rather prefer a tool, which directly downloads the content from youtube's archives (like their embedded html5/flash video player does while watching the videos) and just packing the streams into a matching container without reencoding the video/audio data. To do so, I found the command line utility youtube-dl.
https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/
Its aviable for windows and linux and easy to use after noting 4 commands. Here is a small descreption of what I use:
youtube-dl.exe -F --youtube-include-dash-manifest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
to list all streams aviable for the video in this youtube-link including the needed stream-ids.
youtube-dl.exe -o your-video-stream-file.mp4 --youtube-include-dash-manifest -f  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
to save the video stream.
youtube-dl.exe -o your-audio-stream-file.m4a --youtube-include-dash-manifest -f  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
to save the audio stream.
ffmpeg.exe -i your-video-stream-file.mp4 -i your-audio-stream-file.m4a -c copy your-youtube-video-with-video-and-audio.mp4
pack both streams into a .MP4 Container File.
(The latter .exe file is aviable at https://ffmpeg.org/. The commands I'm using are old. They still work, but I think there is also a command for youtube-dl.exe itself to do all 4 at once (or at least all 3, I think you still have to give the vidoe and audio stream ids you want it to save).)

At this point you might think "4 commands to download a single youtube video??? wtf!? my website/tool does this in one step". But... I'm as lazy as you (maybe far more lazier :D) and wrote a small batch file to do all the commands in an interactive menu: YDL.bat (attached in this post) (I think when you are smart enough to copy an exe file, you are also smart enough to manipulate the patchs in this .bat file)
Execution: Type in windows console:
ydl.bat
And because I'm even lazier, I've added ydl.bat to "runner" in "Launchy" (small and fast launcher application):
So the workflow reduces to:
- copy youtube-video-id from adress bar
- press [alt]+[tab], [y], [tab], [ctrl]+[v], [enter]
- press [enter] two times, if you are satusfyed with my default stream selection

If you are even too lazy to perform this death punch key kombo, you could write an AHK script extracting the youtube-id form the current browser window's adress bar and automatically execute the downloader by pressing any key (combo) you wish.^^ But my level of laziness is satisfyed with the launchy execution method above. :D



*By the way: Censorship is forbidden in our country by our "Grundgesetz" - on the same level as human rights are ensured. Government is not allowed to manipulate content, but completely forbid its broadcasting, if it violates other laws like youth protection and so on. And so it is allowed to enforce others to do some censorship... for special reasons...

**Videos are usually packed in container files like .avi, .mpg, .mkv, .mp4, ... . These are like zip files containing a raw video stream file, audio stream file, maybe some subtitle files and menus, etc.. You can easily "zip" and "unzip" them by using "multiplexers" and "demultiplexers" for each container type.
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