It was this posting on LM_Net about downloading YouTube videos to one's hard drive that triggers this post:
This has been the subject of a lot of discussion on the Australian list because, according to the Terms and Conditions of Use, you cannot do this without the express permission of the video owner.
I have obviously been reading too many comments from people like Tom Hoffman, Peter Rock and Stephen Downes since this was my reaction...
I say go ahead and download YouTube videos regardless of what the "terms" say. Here is why:
- I sincerely doubt there is any case law existing that would indicate whether YouTube's statement holds any legal water. When such a condition exists, you should ask yourself if it is any harder to ask forgiveness than permission when making a decision that is questionable. If you are abiding by _most_ of the fair use indicators and it leads to a better educational experience, don't wait for permission. Just do it. (Jamie, don't be a wimp!)
- We should stop wasting our time fussing about this petty ante stuff. Downloading a YouTube video has about the same degree of criminality as stealing a sugar packet from a restaurant or driving 2 miles over the speed limit. Yeah, technically it may not be legal - but who really cares except those folks who never left Kohlberg's Law and Order stage of moral development. How is a kid downloading a illegal song any different from us stealing an apple from a neighbor's tree when we were young? - other than the fact we were simply mischievous and today's kids are criminals!
I am growing more and more convinced that we are simply tying ourselves in knots worrying about what people shouldn't be doing - especially on petty matters. (Who exactly suffers if a movie is shown in school as a reward rather than in direct F2F instruction?) Perhaps we should approach copyright to teaching people what rights they do have, about being honest when we don't know if something is legal or illegal and erring on the side of the consumer, and about using the morality of a situation rather than the legality to make a judgment. Ask me, we are genuinely in danger of creating a bunch of scofflaws out of our kids and teachers. (Read a more erudite expression of this on Joyce Valenza's blog.)
OK, have at me. Strip me of my library epaulets. Drum me out of the league of copyright cops.
But I said it and feel better for it.