pwn!youtube and all that jazz

A 2 minute read, 2009-02-21 − 🏷 iwatchthis 🏷 streaming 🏷 youtube

Want to download that youtube video you saw to your hard drive? Now you can. simply add 'pwn' to the hostname in the url. pwnyoutube.com provides both flv and mpeg4 downloads (when available from youtube). If you prefer, you can also use a bookmarklet. Using this service, I have added a download link to all youtube videos on our video bookmarking service iwatchthis.

I find it interesting that streaming copyrighted material seems more acceptable to old media than straight downloads. This seems to stem from some deep misunderstanding about it being possible to restrict what you are able to do with media while still letting you play it back on your own system. This is just as wrong for streaming as it has been for every encryption-based scheme they've tried up until now. I'm guessing it won't be long until you get a 'save from spotify' utility as well.

The history of this has been failure upon failure. First DVD encryption, then DRM and lately, whatever failure Blueray brought with it. It just doesn't work, and given enough initiative, it gets broken. Actually, it requires a lot less effort to break these schemes than it takes to device them, which is a pretty clear indication that they are fighting reality. Wanting it to be otherwise does not change that, and scaring consumers into submission with legal threats won't work either.

I assume that is the same misunderstanding that made content owners allow so much content on Hulu. They think that they can restrict the viewers usage of the material to that format closely, and avoid competing with their existing dying markets. Guess Boxee came as a nasty shock to them. Hope nobody told them that foreigners watch it through US proxies as well. They are probably old men, and it could give them a heart attack...

There is a wealth of content out there, and the sooner content owners start focus on winning over customers with quality and convenience, rather than to try to force them into bondage with DRM and geographical restrictions, the sooner they will have a chance against the file sharers. I always found it amusing that the only people who are forced to watch those ghastly "You wouldn't steal a car" ads are the ones that actually buy DVDs. Pirates just edit it out.

People don't mind paying for content, as long as the price is reasonable, and they feel like they are being rewarded rather than punished for it.