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Summary:

Change has come… to YouTube, which started rolling out the option of downloading certain videos instead of just streaming them. Google’s Lawrence Lessig broke the news on his blog over the weekend. By all accounts, it seems as though the downloads are limited to videos from […]

Change has come… to YouTube, which started rolling out the option of downloading certain videos instead of just streaming them. Google’s Lawrence Lessig broke the news on his blog over the weekend. By all accounts, it seems as though the downloads are limited to videos from Barack Obama’s Change dot Gov channel, though Lessig writes the feature will be open to videos that aspire to align with principles of open government and will be made more generally available.

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There have long been tools available to download videos that are normally streamed (Liz had an excellent round up of them last year), but these have YouTube’s blessing, avoiding any sticky TOS issues.

We’ll have to see if and how this program expands before making any real judgment. It’s unlikely that control-freaky networks and studios would allow their content to be downloaded into the wild like that, and as Peter Kafka points out, it’s unlikely that YouTube would launch an iTunes rival. I’d much prefer the video cloud and mobile access to it be expanded rather than having to download content. But I appreciate the Obama’s administration pushing YouTube into new directions to broaden access to its administration.

  1. Well, this is going to be a nice addition to the YouTube world. I feel bad for all the freeware currently out there that are devoted to the downloading of flash videos, because they’re going take a big hit once YouTube goes ahead with this. Of course, just like you can’t embed certain videos, you probably won’t be able to download certain ones (like music videos).
    Obama has proven to be a major internet user, which was nice during the election campaign. It allowed Americans to get a chance to know who they were electing to run their country for the next 4 (to 8) years. It’s going to be a nice change in the weather when geeks start to connect with Politics on the web (well, more than now).

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  2. This should be a nice feature, although most people have broadband internet i doubt downloading will be a extremely useful feature.

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