This is the reason adobe have issued the DMCA removal request for rtmpdump – the tool which allows saving of downloaded rtmp streams from sites that use the rtmp streaming protocol. I’ve had some more clarification. The DMCA removal request by adobe does not claim that rtmpdump infringes any copyright of adobe, but it claims rtmpdump can be used to infringe copyrights of others. It says in the letter:
The rtmpdump utility hosted on SourceForge.net (see URL below) can be used to download copyrighted works, such as those on www.channel4.com.
Well isn’t this kind of like saying that web browsers can be used to download copyrighted works – and almost all web site content is copyrighted; Maybe adobe should issue a DMCA removal request on mozilla.org? Does the fact that rtmp is used necessarily mean that the user cannot save the stream for time-shifting, fair-use or legitimate archiving purposes? The content could even quite possibly come under a creative commons license which can allow indefinite storage, copying and distribution with the right attribution.
As ever, I wonder what adobe’s motivations are here. Maybe adobe just don’t want their highly obfuscated protocols to become widely implemented in open source projects? Or maybe their protocol is sold on the basis of rtmp streams being secure and non-downloadable and now they must face the fact that it was not the case? Who knows? Is this just another example of the Emperor’s New clothes?
It would appear that the rtmp and rtmpe protocols have now been documented in detail according a story that just broke on slashdot.
I’d like to encourage readers who value such tools to nominate rtmpdump for Best Multimedia Project on Sourceforge. Just click the icon.
Update 24th May 2009: The entire letter can be now be viewed at chillingeffects.org