Free Download Manager removes support for YouTube downloads
If you are using Free Download Manager, you may have noticed that the program cannot be used to download videos from YouTube. You are not the only one facing the issue, it started a few days ago.
Here's what happened.
Some users, having discovered the lack of an option to fetch videos from YouTube, raised a complaint at the official FDM forums. A developer on the FDM team, Alex, responded to the thread by saying, YouTube downloads are not available in the program anymore. He also clarified that the team was discussing the issue with Google in order to find a resolution.
When users asked him for more details, the developer said that FDM had received a claim from Google, and they had to "turn off the option for YouTube downloads".
This was the reason why the feature has removed from the popular program. We'll get back to that in a bit.
Usually, software are not targeted by legal issues like piracy, except in rare cases when a record label randomly sends out a DMCA or a Cease and Desist order. Remember the youtubedl fiasco? Back to the issue at hand, Google forbids extensions on the store from downloading YouTube videos. The FDM extension clearly does not download the videos, it just sends the command to the program. The FDM desktop application, like many programs, is just a tool, and it is the up to the user to decide how they want to use the program. It is a little strange why the search giant went after Free Download Manager in particular, while similar programs haven't been targeted.
The problem with FDM seems to have started with version 6.15.3 build 4234. If you have an older build, could you use it to download YouTube videos? Intrigued by this thought, I tried a slightly older version, and it gave me a different error that said "Can't process page."
So, I went all the way back to version 5, and it still gave me an error, but this time it said "Parsing failure. YouTube downloads are not available."
Though I had the FDM extension installed in the browser, I wasn't using it to grab the media. I was manually copying the YouTube video's URL and pasting it in the program. So why were older versions displaying the error? Clearly this error isn't specific to the version being used, so it has to be server related problems.
I can think of 2 possibilities. One, something has changed on YouTube's end, which is causing the error. It seems unlikely, since I was able to download the videos using other programs. The other theory is that Free Download Manager relies on an external service for YouTube downloads, probably to parse the video links (fetch the metadata, URLs, resolution, etc.) and sends it to the program for download. I mentioned earlier that the developer had to "turn off the option for YouTube", this is likely the intermediary service that was taken down.
The YouTube page on FDM's site has also been pulled, and gives a 404. Here's a Web Archive version of it from April 2021. The page's disappearance does seem like a serious issue, and it remains unclear whether FDM will add support for YouTube downloads again.
Meanwhile, you can use other programs like YouTube-DL, yt-dlp, youtube-dl-gui, XDM, IDM, FireDM (formerly PyIDM). Take a look at our previous article for more ways to download videos.
Were you using FDM for downloading YouTube videos? What are your alternatives?Advertisement