XVideoServiceThief is a powerful open source tool for downloading clips from more than 90 popular video sharing sites.

Read next: How to download YouTube videos to Mac | How to download YouTube videos to iPad & iPhone

The list includes Bebo, Dailymotion, GameSpot, GameTrailers, LiveLeak, LiveVideo, Metacafe, MySpace, Vimeo, Yahoo Video and YouTube. There are also plenty of adult web sites on the list, but if you're concerned about that because your kids use the PC, there's no need to worry. XVideoServiceThief doesn't display content from any site of its own accord, and you can additionally disable its adult websites support with a click.

Downloading a clip is easy. Just click the Add New button, paste in the page URL, and the program will grab a copy for you. Even if it's one of those longer URLs you might get sometimes - , say.

Most of the clips will download as Flash video (FLV) files, but if that's a problem then you can have xVideoServiceThief automatically convert them to AVI, WMV, MP4 and other formats (see the Basics section of the Options dialog). The program uses the popular FFMpeg tool to make this happen, so you can be sure of quality results.

And xVideoServiceThief includes some useful configuration options to help you set it up just as you'd like. You're able to define how many videos the program can download simultaneously, for instance, useful if you find it's hogging all your bandwidth. Or, if using that option doesn't help, you can also schedule videos to download automatically at a more convenient time.

Version 2.5.1: Finally! The new version of xVST is here! There are two things remarkable:

  • 1) The Mac OS X 10.6 support has been restored and now the Mac OS X 10.8 is now supported!
  • 2) You don't like the adult plugins? Then disable them and forget about their existence! :D

Here the full changelog of this version, enjoy it!

  • Added the possibility to uninstall the adult sites from your system and ignore them (no updates)
  • Added a new startup parameter "-resetmessages" for display again all the starting messages (welcome window, adults sites request and change-log)
  • Added a new startup parameter "-showchangelog" for display again the change-log of current version
  • Fixed bug (Error: Erratic main window centering on startup when more than one monitor was connected)
  • Windows
    • Fixed bug (Error: Information window was too small)
  • Mac OS X
    • Compiled with Qt 5.2
    • Added Mac OS X Mavericks compatibility
    • Restored compatibility with Mac OS X Leopard (10.6.x)
    • Removed the QWebView module dependence (now the native WebView is used again and reduced the final binary size)

Is it legal to download videos using XVideoServiceThief?

Downloading videos from YouTube and similar video-sharing sites seems like a no-brainer: you avoid any irritating adverts, you can watch the video when you're offline, and you don't have to stop enjoying the video if it gets taken down later. But will it get you into trouble?

For one thing, let's be clear: downloading video clips absolutely breaches the YouTube terms of service. It's right there in Section 5.1:

"YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service, subject to the following express conditions, and you agree that your failure to adhere to any of these conditions shall constitute a breach of these Terms on your part:


"C. you agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Player, or such other means as YouTube may explicitly designate for this purpose;

"D. you agree not to (or attempt to) circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with any security related features of the Service or features that (i) prevent or restrict use or copying of Content or (ii) enforce limitations on use of the Service or the content accessible via the Service;


"L. you agree not to access Content or any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Service, and solely for Streaming. "Streaming" means a contemporaneous digital transmission of the material by YouTube via the Internet to a user operated Internet enabled device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be downloaded (either permanently or temporarily), copied, stored, or redistributed by the user.

"M. You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content."

More seriously, downloading copyrighted material can lead you into legally shady areas. Legally speaking, any content you download from the web for which you do not own the copyright must be for your personal use only: you must not distribute or financially benefit from it.

It must also come with the express permission of the copyright owner. To be safe it's always a good idea to contact the YouTube member who uploaded the video originally and ask for their permission before you plunder the archives.

Whether you are likely to get caught breaking the rules is another matter, and many, many YouTube users happily download copyright-protected content on a regular basis without getting into trouble. But you should be aware of the rules before you get started. Obviously Macworld cannot endorse any non-permitted use of copyright material.

For more on this topic, our colleagues at PC Advisor have put together a useful guide:

Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

Verdict ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

We'd like the ability to choose the preferred resolution of our YouTube downloads, but otherwise XVideoServiceThief is an excellent tool with solid support for a wide range of sites, and some very useful configuration options.