He's not even president yet and Obama is changing YouTube

Jacob Turcotte

Hey, do you want more Obama inauguration stuff but already have a hat, ceremonial coin set, commemorative dinner plate, plush velvet mural, bottle opener, bobblehead, chaps, and sockpuppet?

Good news. Now there's a way to get free Obama videos and you don't have to worry about being busted like the guy who leaked the new Guns 'n Roses album.


YouTube has announced downloadable videos on their site. That means if you like a video, you can click a button and it's yours to keep.

"La de da," say tech enthusiasts who figured out how to rip copies of YouTube videos eons ago.

A haughty writer over a snips that there are a "zillion ways to download YouTube videos" already.


But for us cavemen, this is kinda cool. Not to mention important says Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig.

"YouTube is rolling this out slowly, initially with content that aspires to be consistent with principles of open government," writes Lessig. "I'm told it will be offered more generally. In any case, it is an important development."


Other tech watchers say the development is a signal that YouTube sees the importance of portability. TechNewsWorld says letting consumers watch videos even when they don't have Internet access is clearly where YouTube is headed.

"It's clearly a step towards portability, and I think they've made it clear they want to be available on all screens -- they want to be on the computer, portable devices and the TV," said Phil Leigh, senior analyst for Inside Digital Media.

Everything is free!

So does this mean everyone will be able to download Numa Numa? Exactly how widespread will this become?

CNET's Josh Lowensohn pinged Google and asked 'em.

"Nothing further to announce at this time," said YouTube's Hunter Walk. "We're just excited to have made this feature available in preparation for a historic week in American politics."

The president-elect's videos are now available to be downloaded on his YouTube channel (  You can, for example, click to own any of his radio addresses.


If there was a big change at YouTube allowing mass-downloading, they would have to change their policies as that really smart IT writer astutely points out.

"YouTube’s terms and conditions state that video clips can’t be downloaded, so perhaps the download option will be quite limited, or perhaps the T&C’s will need to be changed," writes Alex Zaharov-Reutt.


How simple is it anyway? A caveman could do it.

Go to this video and look for the "click to download" link in the far left corner of video screen. Click it and you've got it. By the way, it's an 18mb file so if your computer's hard drive is almost full, be aware.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.