Today our review team analyzes Free YouTube Downloader version 3.5.128, a free software program that enables its user to download videos from YouTube in high definition quality. The software also serves as a basic download manager of video files. More advanced is its ability to convert to and from almost all video formats. In addition, Free YouTube Downloader provides the user with many essential tools, including complete control of each YouTube video’s download quality. The program was created by How, Inc and is distributed free of charge. Provided one uses caution by not installing any of the recommended third-party software offered during the installation process, Free YouTube Downloader version 3.5.128 is a superb piece of software at a stellar price: free.
1. It’s free software.
2. The interface is simple and user-friendly, while still providing (nearly) all features users expect.
4. Battle and time-tested. Free YouTube Downloader works. Period. It’s been in use, under earlier versions of course, for quite some time now, is extremely popular, and continues to attract and retain more and more users. Free YouTube Downloader will work consistently and you can count on free updates to be available as technology evolves. With Windows 8’s imminent release, we shall see whether Free YouTube Downloader lives up to its reputation.
5. The recommended third-party programs during its installation process are not required to complete the free, full installation.
1. It’s free software . . . as usual, there is a bit of a “catch” for the unwary during the installation process.
2. The installation process attempts to recommend third-party software be installed by the user, in addition to Free YouTube Downloader v. 3.5.128.
3. Free YouTube Downloader’s End User License Agreement is poorly drafted at best, and outright deceptive at worst. However, we intentionally refrain from offering any opinion regarding the intent of its End User License Agreement.
4. Our careful reading of the software’s End User License Agreement (along with the various other agreements of companies to which How, Inc delegated responsibility, thereby incorporating by reference and implication similar agreements governing such delegees which are not included in the Agreement to which the user must consent) have led us to recommend users NOT accept installation of any recommended third-party programs offered during Free YouTube Downloader’s installation process. Our reasons are explained in the paragraphs following the next.
Recommended. Free YouTube Downloader v. 3.5.128 is an excellent product, provided the user exercises caution during installation.
The Remainder of Our Review – An Example Applicable to Users of Any and All Licensed Products. The Discussion will Involve:
1. Our analysis of Free YouTube Downloader v. 3.5.128’s mandatory End User License Agreement;
2. The decision by How, Inc to monetize its otherwise free software through use of the OpenCandy Network;
3. The potentially deceptive nature stemming from the decision to use the OpenCandy Network;
4. The End User License Agreements relative to the OpenCandy Network and its parent company, SweetLabs, Inc.;
5. The ownership structure of the OpenCandy Network as a subsidiary company of SweetLabs, Inc., as a simple yet effective method of potentially establishing a bifurcation defense (at the very least) should any liability arise from instruction into or misuse of a users’ privacy resulting from a third party program’s installation by the user; and
6. An example of, and explanation behind, our reasons urging diligence with all products reviewed by us as well as serve as our official warning that everyone thoroughly read, understand, and be willing to bear the risk(s), if any, that may arise by accepting any End User License Agreement – not just the one singled-out here.
The Problem of Blindly Accepting an End User License Agreement.
As of the date of our review, Free YouTube Downloader’s End User License Agreement (“EULA”), last revised on March 7, 2012, demonstrates why one must always read the fine print – and understand completely its terms and conditions – before installing any software, especially software free software like Free YouTube Downloader. Should any EULA appear suspicious (misspellings, poor grammar are, of course, dead giveaways, as is lack of legal-specific terminology), not be made available to the user prior to installation, or force the user to agree to terms or conditions found undesirable – or, often, even down-right malicious – the user should not hesitate to decline acceptance of the EULA, void the installation, delete the installation file and all other accompanying files and, for added protection, run both an anti-virus program and a registry cleaner to ensure all remnants of the potentially dangerous program are indeed removed completely from the user’s computer. There is certainly no shortage of quality software or browser plug-ins capable of downloading YouTube videos for free which won’t result in a frustrated Saturday spent fixing a bugged computer instead of downloading and enjoying the free YouTube videos as originally planned. Simply select another program reviewed here by us in order to download free YouTube videos . . . and save a Saturday.
Here, Free YouTube Downloader’s EULA appears innocuous enough. It begins by providing overly friendly information should the user choose to uninstall the program, breaking the instructions down for users on old to new versions of Windows, all of which are normal uninstall directions and would be enough to lull the casual reader to scroll past the remainder and click accept. Reading on, Free YouTube Downloader’s EULA continues its false sense of security while it describes its arrangement with a California-based company, the OpenCandy Network, to provide recommendations of other third party software (that is, not made, owned, or governed by the EULA the user is reading) for the user to choose to install in addition to Free YouTube Downloader, and that such recommendation(s) will only occur during the installation process of Free YouTube Downloader. Should the user accept the EULA at this point, he or she has actually accepted Two (2) EULA’s: the first acceptance by the user accepts passing responsibility for maintaining his or her privacy during installation from Free YouTube Downloader to the OpenCandy Network, and the second acceptance by the user being that of theOpenCandy Network’s EULA regarding, inter alia, its pledge to secure user privacy.
So what’s the problem? While the user has read and agreed to the EULA’s of Two (2) companies, there are actually a total of Three (3) companies involved, plus an unknown number (at least One (1)) of third party software providers. Four (4) companies … at least.
Of course, the user is told he or she can choose not to install any recommended third-party program. The user is also assured via the only included EULA that all recommended third party software must adhere to the OpenCandy Network’s “ . . . strict policies that ensure only compliant software is recommended,” any data collected during the recommendation process is collected, stored, and transmitted by the OpenCandy Network for its own internal purposes in order to better serve the user, and that all recommended third party software will be promptly removed as soon as the user uninstalls Free YouTube Downloader. None of the seemingly reassuring words are defined, however, nor is it stated exactly how the user’s data will be used “internally.” Worse still is that “internally” is undefined. Internal solely to the OpenCandy Network? Or is Free YouTube Downloader also allowed to use this data internally? Recall that both companies are parties to the included EULA.
But wait. It get’s better.
After the user reads all of the foregoing (which is the entire included EULA), he or she is unaware that crucial information is missing . . . and yet, despite this missing information, the user has reached the end of the EULA and will most likely hit consent, thinking he or she understood the essence of the agreement enough to agree. However, the user’s private information is still very much up for grabs – even sale – and if discovered by the user, he or she will need to win the lottery to effectively fight back.
Let us continue . . .
Now obviously the user must accept an additional EULA from a recommended third party prior to installation of its software. This third EULA also promises not to share the user’s private information, except for “internal” (undefined, yet again) purposes. At this point, even though the user has effectively gained assurances from all Four (4) separate companies not to share the user’s personal information except for “internal” purposes, the user will be absolutely powerless should personal information be misused, sold for marketing, used “internally” by a subsidiary of any One (1) of the Four (4) companies for its own marketing/profit, or worse.
Why is the user powerless to stop and/or seek justice?
1. “Internal” is undefined. At least Two (2) of the companies are directly affiliated. Sweetlabs, Inc. owns the OpenCandy Network. “Internal” information just broadened itself. Making matters worse for the user, the first EULA obtained the user’s consent to Free YouTube Downloader delegating responsibility to the OpenCandy Network. An agency argument is easily held under such a circumstance. The OpenCandy Network is acting as agent for Free YouTube Downloader, which is in turn acting as principal for agent. Top it off with the fact that the user consented to this arrangement via the first EULA, and now “internal” (again, undefined) can apply to Three (3) separate companies. Now couple both user-consented EULAs together, and all Four (4) (now including any recommended third party) are at worse agents & principals via proxy, if not directly. The user’s personal information could now be used for whatever undefined internal reason by Four (4) separate companies . . . and when there’s One (1) subsidiary company, there’s bound to be more. Did the user really consent to this? Of course not. So what can the user do if he or she finds concrete evidence that misuse of personal information resulted in damages to the user? Well . . .
2. Venue is in California. If the user lives elsewhere in the world, not only would he or she need to hire a California attorney to bring suit in California (user consented to this California venue clause in the first EULA, recall) but he or she would effectively need to travel and stay in California … while also paying a California attorney. Sure, the user could be deposed him or herself in their own State without traveling to California. But, if the user is absent from California, even the dumbest of attorneys knows the case is going to court – no settlement – in order to compel the user’s presence in California court.
3. Assume now that the user won the lottery, hired a team of California attorneys, and rented a mansion in L.A. to sort this out. Which of the Four (4) companies is financially liable? It’s not as straightforward as the company that misused the user’s personal information. Agency concepts involving the complexities of Agent/Principal relationships and duties are at work now. The misdirection and finger pointing begins (and probably would never reach a responsible party as to the user, anyway). In addition, stacking entities (e.g., parent and subsidiaries) as is the case with at least Two (2) of the companies also enters the picture. Assuming the damages were astronomical, and the user prevailed, collecting on the judgment will prove more difficult than the court battle itself. The subsidiary is sucked dry to pay for legal bills and other excuses, or the parent begins its “already existing plan” of moving assets to the subsidiary. It’s a terrible feeling to “win” a $10 million judgment against someone or something without the money to pay.
4. But it still gets even worse for the user . . . far worse. Why? Consent. The user gave actual consent on Three (3) separate occasions when agreeing with each EULA. While the user can claim he or she did not know the extent of the consent – or did not understand the EULA – the Court will simply reply, “Then why did you consent, if you didn’t understand?” The Court will continue, “No one forced User to consent. User had plenty of other options when selecting a free YouTube download program, yet chose to consent and use this specific free YouTube Download program. Despite the User’s claim the EULA’s were overly vague, User consented anyway. User must live with User’s choice and consequences in consenting to use of Free YouTube Downloader, and all that User consented to along therewith.” User just wasted a lottery ticket.
Therefore, if one does not understand, agree with, like, or feel comfortable with a EULA, one should NEVER give consent. Simply find another program. We have plenty of reviewed Free YouTube Download solutions from which to choose. Select one that not only does what is desired and for price deemed reasonable, but also has a clearly understandable EULA the terms of which are acceptable. Otherwise, the user only has his or herself to blame.
Disclaimer: of course, the above is merely an illustration of our opinion given a completely made up, fictional circumstance, which just happened, by creative circumstance, to involve mention of a Free YouTube Downloader. We have no reason, nor do we believe any of the above-mentioned names would ever act in such a manner. Furthermore, the analysis provided above is not an an analysis, but merely the creative opinion of our overworked and overtired minds. Nothing is meant to disparage any named company, nor could anything stated in this creative work of fiction be construed as such. We, again, expressly provide no opinion as to any intent – good or bad – of the agreements or names in the work of fiction above. Such fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and is in no manner the rendering of a legal opinion on any subject or matter therein or otherwise. Much like a good Free YouTube Download program, the above is for entertainment purposes only and, if disallowed pursuant to any law in which the reader resides, such person should refrain from any and all use immediately.