Download videos using youtube-dl and upload to the Internet Archive with metadata.





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Tubeup - a multi-VOD service to uploader

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tubeup uses youtube-dl to download a Youtube video (or any other provider supported by youtube-dlc), and then uploads it with all metadata to the Internet Archive using the python module internetarchive.

It was designed by the Bibliotheca Anonoma to archive entire Youtube accounts and playlists to the Internet Archive.


This script strongly recommends Linux or some sort of POSIX system (such as Mac OS X).

Alternativly you should be able to get away with using Windows Terminal / WSL2.

  • Python 3 - This script requires python3, which has better integration with Unicode strings.
  • docopt - The usage documentation can specify command line arguments and options.
  • youtube-dl - Used to download the videos.
  • internetarchive - A Python library used to upload videos with their metadata to the Internet Archive.
  • jsonpatch - For JSON things.

Setup and Installation

  1. Install ffmpeg pip3 (typically python3-pip) and git.
    To install ffmpeg in ubuntu have the Universe repository enabled.

For Debian/Ubuntu:

   sudo apt-get install libav-tools ffmpeg python3-pip git && sudo apt remove youtube-dl
  1. Use pip3 to install the required python3 packages. At the minimum Python 3.4.2 and up is required (latest Python preffered), as 3.2 will not work.
   sudo -H python3.8 -m pip install -U pip tubeup

Perodically upgrade tubeup and it's dependencies by running:

   sudo -H python3.8 -m pip install -U tubeup youtube-dl internetarchive
  1. If you don't already have an Internet Archive account, register for one to give the script upload privileges.

  2. Configure internetarchive with your Internet Archive account.

   ia configure

You will be prompted for your login credentials for the Internet Archive account you use.

Once configured to upload, you're ready to go.

  1. Start archiving a video by running the script on a URL. Or multiple URLs at once. Youtube, Vimeo, Twitch, Dailymotion, anything supported by youtube-dl. For YouTube, this includes account URLs and playlist URLs.
   tubeup <url>
  1. Each archived video gets it's own item. Check out what you've uploaded at


tubeup - Download a video with Youtube-dlc, then upload to Internet Archive, passing all metadata.

  tubeup <url>... [--username <user>] [--password <pass>]
                  [--proxy <prox>]
                  [--quiet] [--debug]
                  [--output <output>]
  tubeup -h | --help
  tubeup --version

  <url>                         Youtube-dlc compatible URL to download.
                                Check Youtube-dlc documentation for a list
                                of compatible websites.
  --metadata=<key:value>        Custom metadata to add to the

  -h --help                 Show this screen.
  --proxy <prox>            Use a proxy while uploading.
  --username <user>         Provide a username, for sites like Nico Nico Douga.
  --password <pass>         Provide a password, for sites like Nico Nico Douga.
  --use-download-archive    Record the video url to the download archive.
                            This will download only videos not listed in
                            the archive file. Record the IDs of all
                            downloaded videos in it.
  --quiet                   Just print errors.
  --debug                   Print all logs to stdout.
  --output <output>         Youtube-dlc output template.


You can specify custom metadata with the --metadata flag. For example, this script will upload your video to the Community Video collection by default. You can specify a different collection with the --metadata flag:

   tubeup --metadata=collection:opensource_audio <url>

Any arbitrary metadta can be added to the item, with a few exceptions. You can learn more about metadata here.

Collections users can upload to to four open collections:

Note that care should be taken when uploading entire channels. Read the appropraite section in this guide for creating collections, and contact the collections staff if you're uploading a channel or multiple channels on one subject (gaming or horticulture for example), they'll create a collection for you or merge any uploaded items based on the Youtube uploader name that are already up into a new collection.

Dumping entire channels into Community Video is abusive and may get your account locked. Talk to the admins first before doing large uploads it's better to ask for guidence or help first than run afoul of the rules.

If you do not own a collection you will need to be added as an admin for that collection if you want to upload to it Talk to the collection owner or staff if you need assistance with this.

Privacy disclaimer

As a part of the metadata collection process, youtube-dl (a dependency of Tubeup) prints out the full file location of the video file as well as the external IP address of the machine mirroring the video.


"_filename": "/home/USER/.tubeup/downloads/VIDEO.mp4"

This is a part of the metadata process by youtube-dl. That one string is a part of the JSON metadata uploaded to and is available to the public. It is located in each items .info,.json file.

If you do not feel comfortable with this, send a pull request that reliably removes both IPv6/6 addresses and the filepath, or do not use Tubeup.


  • Obviously, if someone else uploaded the video to the Internet Archive, you will get a permissions error. We don't want duplicates, do we?
  • Some videos are copyright blocked in certain countries. Use the proxy or torrenting/privacy VPN option to use a proxy to bypass this. Sweden and Germany are good countries to bypass geo-restrictions.
  • Upload taking forever? Getting s3 throttling on upload? Tubeup has specifically been tailored to wait the longest possible time before failing, and we've never seen a S3 outage that outlasted the insane wait times set in Tubeup.

Major Credits

  • emijrp who wrote the original in 2012
  • Matt Hazinski who forked emijrp's work in 2015 with numerous improvements of his own.
  • Antonizoon for switching the script to library calls rather than functioning as an external script, and many small improvements.
  • Small PRs from various people, both in and out of BibAnon.
  • vxbinaca for stabilizing downloads/uploads in youtube-dl/internetarchive library calls, cleansing item output, subtitles collection, and numerous small improvements over time.
  • Jake Johnson of the Internet Archive for adding variable collections ability as a flag, switching Tubeup from a script to PyPi repository, ISO-compliant item dates, fixing what others couldn't, and many improvements.
  • Refeed for re-basing the code to OOP, turning Tubeup itself into a library. and adding download and upload bar graphs, and squashing bugs.

License (GPLv3)

Copyright (C) 2020 Bibliotheca Anonoma

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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