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January 9, 2011

YouTube's HTML5 Rickrolling

YouTube's HTML5 interface has a very cool feature: if you right-click on a video, you'll no longer see the boring contextual menu displayed by the browser that added uninteresting features like downloading videos. Instead, you'll get a much more useful menu that sends you to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video.

Some would say that this trick reminds them of the sites that annoyed users by disabling browser features like the contextual menu so that people can't save an image or copy some text. But that's not what happens here: YouTube's terms of use forbid users from downloading videos and the new menu solves this issue by offering a better option. After all, why download a video when you can listen to Rick Astley's fabulous song?


There are at least two uncivil browsers (Firefox and Opera) that treat videos just like images and allow users to right-click on a video and download it. Firefox even lets you disable custom contextual menus for all sites, while Opera provides more granular options. There's even a developer that breached YouTube's terms of use by creating a Greasemonkey script with a strange name: Youtube HTML5 Beta "Save Video As" Unrickroller. Apparently, he lost his sense of humor or he's not a Rick Astley fan.

I'm not going to use any of these features and I'll switch to Internet Explorer, a browser that doesn't offer a download option for videos (mostly because it doesn't support HTML5 videos). Whenever I want to download a YouTube video, I'll ignore all those scripts and tricks and I'll read YouTube's terms of use, while listening to Rick Astley's song. They're a perfect match.

"... You know the rules and so do I ..."

11 comments:

  1. I see why people find this funny, but it would be better to just not offer the option at all. This will just confuse users.

    Also Chrome DOES offer a "Save video as" right-click option, but YouTube avoids it by covering the &ltvideo> element with a <div>.

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  2. Aweomse! Youtube rickrolls French users with the very funny "This video contains content from Vevo, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds." Love it!

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  3. Nobody likes a hall monitor, bro.

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  4. I can't replicate it. Anyone know how to do it w/o fail?

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  5. I'm only seeing "About HTML5" on the menu.

    HTML5 actually makes it HARDER for me to get the video. If it's flash, I can just copy it out of the /tmp/ folder!

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  6. I just tried it and it works (got Rickrolled)! LOL I still don't like YouTube's HTML5 player though, so I went back to Flash :-)

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  7. Doesnt the browser save every video to cache so that it can be displayed? How else could it store the future frames?

    So 'save as' is basically just moving a file from an obscure cache to a known location? But that is against the terms-of-use? Am I not understanding this right?

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  8. What an odd post. You don't want to use Firefox because some people who use Firefox download YouTube videos? You would rather use IE because it it has not adopted new web standards? Bizarre. Surprise! You just got eye-rolled.

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  9. "uninteresting features like downloading videos"

    Yeah - it's so interesting, people DL hundreds of videos every day. You know, because it's so uninteresting, and all. I mean, it's so hard to even find a downloader to grab a youtube video, isn't it?
    Oh, wait. It isn't. My bad.

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  10. Highlight and copy url on screenface.
    Open new tab and paste onto new page.
    Before youtube type the following ace.
    KISS or SAVE so find strange new rage.

    Kissyoutube or saveyoutube to consider.
    God kiss, save youtube from laws bogey.
    Cause nothing else will as the decider.
    Property of Bill Dollar IS a theology.

    Passage through time of a pig to market.
    Disgrace policies race on face is mace.
    Innocence waves as drowning so park it.
    Snow goose sacrifices copper pits race.

    Crypto-analysis synthetic propositions.
    Spectacle: clubs progress associations.

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