GitHub is one of the most popular sites for developers in the world, hosting open source code and helping people manage their projects.

It’s also on a collision course with music rightsholders in the US, over a takedown notice sent to GitHub in October by industry body the RIAA focusing on a project called YouTube-DL – an open source repository that has been used by a number of sites and tools that enable YouTube videos to be downloaded.

The RIAA’s complaint pointed to the mention of specific music videos in YouTube-DL’s source code as evidence of its piratical uses, and GitHub duly took down the software. Until yesterday, when it put it back up again.

“We share developers’ frustration with this takedown –especially since this project has many legitimate purposes… including changing playback speeds for accessibility, preserving evidence in the fight for human rights, aiding journalists in fact-checking, and downloading Creative Commons-licensed or public domain videos,” explained a blog post from GitHub.

So, YouTube-DL is back up, and GitHub is setting up a $1m ‘developer defense fund’ to help its community “push back against unwarranted takedowns”.

While we await the RIAA’s response, note the added spice to this dispute: since June 2018 GitHub has been owned by tech giant Microsoft, which acquired it for $7.5bn.

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