What's Wrong with YouTube
Please cite audio-video.gnu.org as the site for videos of my speeches — not YouTube.
There are two reasons why YouTube is a bad choice for where 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 is deprecated as of January 2015.)
There are ways to access most YouTube videos without running that nonfree software — Users who are in the know can avoid doing so. For instance, you can access most non-HTML5 videos with Gnash, and you can get most HTML5 videos with youtube-dl.
However, most users don't use these methods, so putting a video on YouTube directs them towards nonfree software.
- 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.
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, because it wouldn't affect 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 that service, so they are not a reason to refuse to use YouTube.
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.