Downloading videos from YouTube


Downloading YouTube Videos

Andrew Tingley | Decmber 15, 2022
11image of screen with youtube logo on it

First off, it must be said, that downloading videos from YouTube or stealing content from online is illegal. It is also unethical and you should feel bad for doing it.

Why Should We Care?

Besides the moral implications, as content creators, we should appreciate how much work goes into creating content and how we would feel if someone downloaded our content and reposted it as their own.

Direct Download

Some YouTubers will allow downloading, indicated by a download button. What does this mean? Is this a sign it’s ok to use their content? Maybe…or maybe they have already been paid and they want a wider distribution.

direct download button on YouTube

It’s best to read the description for more information. The content creator may have included information about a Creative Commons license or some other info for usage. That being said, you still wouldn’t want to download the video and then directly post it on your own channel as if you created it (hopefully this is a “duh” comment for you).

The Grey Area

There’s also this grey area of using other people’s content for reviews. Have you seen a movie review with a lot of clips are being used? How is this justified? It may be that the movie studio considers it as promotion…or maybe they just don’t know it’s out there within the sea of trillions of hours of video content. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to give credit to the film, let people know where to get it or support it and be very up-front about its use in both your review and video description.

Also, be careful when using content for broll in educational or how-to videos that you create.

When is it OK to Download a YouTube Video?

There are definitely times we would want to download content from YouTube. One instance would be to download videos you’ve created yourself. It’s not ideal, but sometimes there is a video you’ve created that you want to repost to another site and you simply don’t have access to the original video file. In this instance, it’s not stealing because you created the video. You own the rights.

Ok, I’ve thought about all of this and I still need to download a video

The main thing to consider is downloading videos safely. There are many websites where you can paste a link and it will rip the video for you. These websites can be dangerous and not well-vetted. They may also give you a smaller or highly compressed version of the video, not the highest quality that is available. The only software I trust for this process is from Digiarty, called MacX or WinX Downloader. They have versions available for Mac and PC. Links below.

Download for Mac | Download for Windows

Be safe. Have fun creating.


Mini Bio

Andrew has been producing video for over 20 years, and teaching for 6.

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