YouTube tests video download service

YouTube has started experimenting with offering free and paid-for video downloads.

On Thursday, the Google-owned video sharing site announced it had signed up several content partners to participate in the beta.

The sites offering free clips are mostly educational institutions. On the paid-for side, YouTube partners such as housoldhacker and khanacademy are involved. The clips will be DRM-free and must be acquired through Google Checkout.

The content owners will set their own prices, and Google will take an undisclosed share of the revenue, ars.technica said.

But it appears to have begun cracking down on unauthorized methods of downloading videos. Blogsite TechCrunch reported Friday that YouTube had blocked its download tool for violating its terms of service.

The tool was one of the most popular methods of downloading clips from the site, TechCrunch said.  YouTube had sent TechCrunch a cease and desist letter in 2006.