Tech Tips: Using music from YouTube & understanding GDPR notifications | TheUnion.com

Tech Tips: Using music from YouTube & understanding GDPR notifications

Doug Behl & Ken Getz
Columnists

I noticed there are software products that allow me to download music posted on YouTube. My questions are: 1. Can music be downloaded for private use without paying royalty or other restrictions? 2. If so can you recommend software package(s) that work well?

You ask two important questions; both have complicated answers.

Can music that you find on YouTube be used for private consumption? Well, yes, one "can" do this (note the irony implied by the quotes); but it's definitely not legal unless the music is in the public domain (and we're assuming the things you're looking at are not).

Look, we're technicians, not lawyers or moralists, so you're really asking the wrong people; but our belief is that if you're enjoying someone else's artistic efforts, you ought to pay them. We may be in the minority, but we are definitely in the right.

A monthly subscription to Google Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube Red would solve the problem and ensure people who make music for a living are getting paid. Believe us, none of these musicians are overpaid, and they earn something like a penny every time you listen to one of their tunes. But they get something. So there's that.

As for your second question, given the ethical implications of your first question, there are many different means of downloading video and audio files from YouTube. Although we've tried a multitude of solutions over the years, at this point, Ken often uses a few application called 5KPlayer when he needs to download items from YouTube.

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There are many such applications, but 5KPlayer is free, works well, and seems to not cause trouble. It tries to be a complete audio/video solution and succeeds at some features better than others. It does support downloading from YouTube, and generally works well. Give it a try at http://www.5kplayer.com.

Overloaded with GDPR Notifications

Recently, I've been receiving a ton of emails alerting me to privacy changes, and something about GDPR. What is the deal? Why so many of these all of a sudden? Is this some new scam?

We're with you on this one. We've been receiving all sorts of emails, all of a sudden, about GDPR. At first, they started trickling in, and now we get several per day.

Be assured, however: In general, these emails are notifications only, and don't contain anything malicious. Actually, it's just the opposite.

The emails concern a really good new law put in place by the European Union that ends up affecting us, even though we don't live in the EU.

GDPR is an acronym for General Data Protection Regulation, a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU. This regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018, and requires any vendor who does business with individuals in the EU to provide a means for individuals to have more control over their private information and how companies use that information.

The new law requires companies to contact anyone who is a client, and inform them about the company's use of their data. Companies that have clients in the EU and in the U.S. ended up blanketing us with emails, even though we're not covered by the new law. It is to our benefit, however, as companies are providing the same support for U.S. citizens as they do for EU citizens, for the most part.

The surprising thing, to us, is how many online services we had done business with over the years. We're taking this opportunity to clean up and close online accounts, as we're contacted by every service we ever signed up for (Ken has a bad habit of signing up for free services just to see what they offer, leaving a zillion orphaned online accounts all over the place).

Another helpful by-product of GDPR is the ability to see what data vendors are maintaining, and the openness we're finding about how those companies use the data. To see this in action, log into your Google account, click the personal icon in the upper-right corner of any Google service (like Gmail), and select the Privacy link. You'll see information, in clear English, about what data Google collects about you and how they use it. It's certainly refreshing!

So, to summarize: GDPR is real. It's a complex set of European regulations that affect us only because we share the same digital world (no comments on why the U.S. doesn't provide similar restrictions on corporate use of our data).

It's generally a good thing, and emails you receive about it are purely informational. It's possible some evil-doers will use this opportunity to scam you, but for the most part, the emails are completely safe.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.

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