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Download videos from Youtube = copyright infringement?

This post is also available in: Deutsch


In the seemingly endless expanse of the digital world, we are constantly surrounded by a wealth of content. One of the platforms that provides us with videos, music and streaming options is YouTube. Although streaming content on YouTube is the main focus, there is also software like youtube-dl that allows you to download content. This issue was recently the subject of a major court case before the Hamburg Regional Court.


The case began when an employee of a media company in Hamburg used YouTube to download three songs. This incident was used as the occasion for a court case on whether downloading content from a platform such as YouTube should be considered an infringement of copyright. The Hamburg Regional Court was entrusted with the decision and the proceedings attracted a great deal of attention as they were considered to be a case of fundamental importance.

Decision of the LG Hamburg

In its decision, the LG Hamburg concluded that downloading videos from YouTube constitutes copyright infringement. In addition, the court ordered the hosting provider Uberspace to stop hosting the homepage of youtube-dl.

This decision has far-reaching consequences, not only for those who want to download content from YouTube, but also for the providers of tools and services that enable this download.

Reactions to the ruling were mixed. Some intellectual property advocates welcomed the decision as a step toward strengthening copyright protection. Critics, on the other hand, expressed concerns that the ruling could restrict freedom on the Internet.

Uberspace, the web hosting company directly affected by the decision, appealed the ruling. Uberspace was supported in this appeal by the Liberty Society.

Implications and significance

The ruling by the Hamburg Regional Court raises important questions about the balance between copyright protection and freedom on the Internet. Artists and content providers must be able to control their works and be fairly compensated for them. This is especially important to foster creativity and innovation. If artists do not feel that their work is protected and that they are fairly compensated for their efforts, this could reduce their motivation to create new and original content.

At the same time, the Internet is a space for freedom of information, and too strict restrictions could be perceived as limiting this freedom. The Internet has the potential to act as a catalyst for the free flow of ideas and information. It allows people to have access to a variety of content, from educational resources to entertainment media. In this sense, the Internet should be seen as a tool that can help promote general education and the well-being of society.

There is also the argument that downloading content for personal or educational purposes might be justified in some cases. For example, teachers could use videos as teaching materials, or individuals could archive content for personal use.

It is therefore crucial to find a middle ground that protects the rights of content providers without disproportionately restricting freedom of information. This could be done by developing legal frameworks that provide both flexible and equitable solutions for different scenarios. It could also mean that society as a whole needs to have a discussion about what values should be prioritized in relation to the Internet and access to information.

Ultimately, it is a complex and nuanced issue that requires careful consideration of the various interests involved and the long-term impact on society. The Hamburg Regional Court decision is just one chapter in an ongoing story that will likely continue to see developments and debate in this area.


The decision of the Hamburg Regional Court regarding the downloading of YouTube videos has triggered an important legal debate. While intellectual property protection is an essential pillar in the legal system, it is equally important to maintain a balance that does not unduly restrict freedom of information.

Uberspace has appealed the ruling, which indicates that the dispute over this issue is not yet over. It remains to be seen how the courts will handle similar cases in the future and what impact this will have on the downloading and distribution of content on the Internet.

This case shows how closely jurisdiction and technology are linked in the digital world. Decisions made in one area can have far-reaching effects on the other.

In an era where information is readily available and technology allows content to be shared in seconds, it is critical to establish a legal foundation that respects both creators’ rights and users’ freedoms.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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