YouTube Orders Piracy Service to Shutdown





YouTube has issued a cease-and-desist notice to Invidious, a free and open-source software posed as a “privacy-respecting alternative front-end for YouTube.” The software allows users to eliminate YouTube’s advertising and avoid user tracking metrics.

Along with a Premium membership tier, YouTube uses advertisements to profit from the billions of hours of content streamed daily. Invidious provides YouTube’s content accessible through “a different interface on a different domain which strips away the advertising, user tracking, and reliance on Google subscriptions.”

Invidious posted the letter it received from YouTube’s legal department:

“We recently became aware of your product or service… Your client appears to be in violation of the YouTube API Services Terms of Service and Developer Policies”

The notice went on to outline a number of policy violations:

  • API Clients must display a link to YouTube’s Terms of Service and they must also state in their own terms of use that, by using those API Clients, users are agreeing to be bound by the YouTube Terms of Service.
  • Each API Client must require users to agree to a privacy policy before users can access the API Client’s features and functionality.
  • API Clients must also comply with the Requirements for Minimum Functionality for YouTube API Services. In addition, API Clients must not place any limitations on the YouTube functionality required by the RMF.
  • You must also delete any Content (including data) that you may have gathered in violation of our terms, policies, and applicable laws.

YouTube’s notice gives Invidious seven days to comply, which Invidious is apparently not going to consider as the software is a proxy service that does not use YouTube’s API and therefore is exempt from YouTube’s policies.

Invidious team members replied to the notice stating, “We never agreed to any of their TOS/policies, they don’t understand that we don’t use their API” and “Things will continue normally.”

While the team doesn’t intend to take action at this point, YouTube may issue another notice after the allotted seven days expire. The platform has a lengthy, detailed list of terms and conditions members must agree to in order to use it. YouTube could find another avenue to go after Invidious but for now, we’ll just have to wait to see how this plays out.

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