What's Wrong with YouTube
Please cite audio-video.gnu.org as the site for videos of my speeches — not YouTube.
There are two problems with YouTube as a place to post videos or refer to videos.
- Normal use of YouTube involves use of nonfree software.
- In the non-HTML5 mode, it involves use of Flash Player, which is nonfree. It even tells users to install Flash Player. (This mode was deprecated by YouTube as of January 2015.)
- YouTube tries to stop people from downloading copies.
The developers of youtube-dl need to keep changing it as the site changes. The mere attempt to stop you from downloading a file is mistreatment even if you can overcome it.
The free software community has made progress in overcoming these problems. It is getting easier to access YouTube videos without running nonfree software. Indeed, the HTML5 Video Everywhere add-on for Firefox (included in IceCat) takes care of this, though it occasionally breaks temporarily when sites change their undocumented APIs.
However, most users don't use such methods, so putting a video on YouTube usually leads people to watch it by running nonfree software.
One thing about YouTube that is not a moral strike against it is nonfree software on YouTube servers — if there is any. We as outsiders can't tell whether the servers run any nonfree software, because it has no effect on us — which is why it is not an injustice towards us.
If there are any nonfree programs running on YouTube servers, they mistreat Google by denying Google control of that aspect of its computing. We hope that Google will reclaim its freedom by ceasing to use those nonfree programs, if any. But those programs do not mistreat the users of YouTube, so they are not a reason to refuse to use that service.
To post a video without requiring nonfree software to view it, you can place the video as an Ogg or WebM file on an ordinary web site. If you are concerned there will be a lot of download traffic, you can seed a torrent and suggest people download through that.
Another way to publish videos on the web using free software is GNU MediaGoblin. Ideally you will set up your own server, or run one for your family and friends, but you can also post on public servers.
Please contribute to GNU MediaGoblin if you can.