How to download video from YouTube Legally

Downloading video from YouTube

Downloading video from YouTube can be a hairy situation; both ethically and legally. Today, let’s talk about the situations in which you can legally download video from YouTube.

Suppose, you see a clip on YouTube you really want to use in one of your own videos, and you really want to download it. Or maybe you just want to download it so you can watch it offline on the bus or in the gym. When can you do this?

YouTube Terms of Service

First of all, let’s go to YouTube’s terms of service. There are two parts in there that say this. Section 4cyou agree to not access content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the service itself, the embeddable player, or other explicitly authorized means that YouTube may designate.

Then scroll down to section 5b. Content is provided to you as is. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the service and as permitted under these terms of service.

You shall not download any Content unless you see a download or similar link displayed by YouTube on the service for that content. According to YouTube’s terms of service, you may not download any other content from the platform really for any use whatsoever. Now doing so though, doesn’t make it illegal. It just means that Google has the right to terminate your account if they catch you doing it. Or YouTube feels like that’s necessary to do.

However, it is illegal for reasons bigger than Google. It is because you are downloading someone else’s copyrighted content without a license to use that in an explicit way. The video creator owns the content and provides a license to YouTube to webcast and distribute his content. But that does not mean that the creator has given you a license to do the same.

How to Download Video from YouTube and save it

  • Download VLC like open-source media player
  • Open VLC and click “Open Media”
  • Click “Network” and paste URL of YouTube video
  • For Mac, select “Window” then “Media Information”
  • For Windows, select “Tools” then “Codec Information”
  • Search “Location” bar someway at the bottom and copy the URL
  • Paste the URL into your browser
  • Right-click video. Now select “Save Video As”
  • Name and save the file to the desired location

Fair Usage Policy

Now in the U.S., there are situations that are clearly fair use, usage of other people’s content. And under those situations download video from YouTube might be an exception. You can keep and use that content without the permission of the original creator. But generally speaking, if that’s not the case, then you are stealing the content.

We’re not going to get into internet piracy here in this blog. But I think we can all generally agree as creators, that it hurts creators and the platform as a whole when people download YouTube videos.

Safely Download YouTube Video

There is one situation where any of us though, can absolutely legally download YouTube videos and watch them offline. Say, for example, you are on the bus and you don’t want to use all your data. You don’t want to burn through all that and pay for your mobile device or maybe you’re going to be out of cell phone service; maybe on the subway, or going for an airplane ride. You desire to see your subscriptions and you also do not want to pay the staggering Wi-fi fee on the airplane.

YouTube Red

Downloading video from YouTube

Well, if you are a subscriber of YouTube Red, then yes, you can download all the videos you want inside the YouTube app. You push the download button that the terms of service talk about, and you can watch all of those videos off your mobile device.

YouTube is great because when you do reconnect the Wi-Fi, all your watch time, all your views would sync to the YouTube server.

I love YouTube Red’s feature inside the app. There’s a whole bunch of other features that come with YouTube Red, also, if you’re not already a subscriber. I just really love the service. Not seeing any ads on YouTube whatsoever, having full access to Google, Music Play, which is basically their Spotify music library. It’s just awesome. I love it.

I also love that as a YouTube Red subscriber, when I watch other people’s videos on YouTube, those creators are earning more money as a YouTube Red subscriber compared to merely earning from passive, ad-supported viewers.

Final Words

So, YouTube Red is great all the way around. It was not supposed to be commercial about anything. However, that’s how you can legally download videos and not have any problems with the post. Posts are super easy and built into the app.


I am not a lawyer, but these are the general principles that I found to make sense to me. So I would love to hear what you guys think in the comments below about how to download video from YouTube. When do you do it? When do you not do it?

Read our other article “How to Make Money from YouTube in 2020 – Beginners Guide Step by Step” Thank you

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 1k

About Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at InfoDocx is a team of WordPress experts led by Shan Ullah.

View all posts by Editorial Staff →

2 Comments on “How to download video from YouTube Legally”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *