Deleted YouTube Videos Still Available

    March 16, 2007

When it receives a complaint from content owners regarding copyrighted videos, YouTube is usually pretty quick to comply with regulations and pull down the infringing clips. As it turns out, those clips may still be available for viewing and/or download on YouTube’s servers.

The news doesn’t seem to be getting any better for YouTube.

Since the beginning of the year, negotiations with several content providers have stalled or altogether fallen apart. And of course we all know by now about the billion-dollar bomb that Viacom dropped on the video-sharing site earlier this week. Now it seems that YouTube is taking its sweet time in removing copyrighted content from its data libraries.

Of course, evidence of this won’t be found on YouTube’s end. If you try to pull up a video that infringes copyright, most likely you’ll encounter some sort of message stating that the clip has been removed. If you surf on over to Delutube, however, chances are you can still take a peek at the video.

So what’s the big deal about that? Well, Delutube pulls the video data from YouTube’s servers, which means that video clips the site claims have been remove are actually still accessible.

Nate Anderson at Ars Technica has more on the particular details of how to find deleted YouTube clips:

Delutube allows visitors to enter the video ID (pulled from the end of the YouTube URL) of a deleted clip, then attempts to retrieve the clip from YouTube’s system. Clips are not apparently deleted from YouTube’s database at the moment they are taken down (or they at least persist in YouTube’s cache before being cleared), allowing Delutube a chance of retrieving them. The site also allows for the easy downloading of clips.

This could be very bad news for Google & YouTube if more content owners step up to file suit against them. YouTube claims that it immediately removes clips that infringe upon copyright once they are notified of the offense, but the very existence and functionality of Delutube shows evidence to the contrary

To be fair, however, there is no clear data to determine how long “deleted” clips stay on YouTube’s servers; it could range from several hours to several weeks for all we know. What is certain, however, is YouTube’s need to address this issue immediately, especially given the unfolding events of the past week.