Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

This video not available on mobile


This week, on Wednesday, some major websites plan to go “on strike” for a day to protest SOPA / PIPA, US bills representing content provider’s latest and possibly most nefarious attempts at ineffectively combating web piracy by, basically, ruining the Internet. As a Canadian, there isn’t much I can do about this except sit back and watch, hoping that President Obama’s somewhat critical statement about this Bill will stop it from passing in its current form.

In the meantime, I’ve been puzzling over the fact that YouTube lets me watch some videos on a my computer, but not on my Android tablet. “Content provider has not made this video not available on mobile” it will say.

So it’s something about copyright protection, but what, exactly? While I think regional bans are fairly stupid, I at least somewhat understand “the logic” of them. That the copyright may only be valid in a certain area, not globally. Someone else might own it somewhere else. So only people in your area can watch certain.

But that I can watch a video on my computer, but not on my tablet three feet away? Huh? What are thinking I’m going to do with it on my tablet that’s so terrible? (Because honestly, there seems lots more PC than Android software for downloading and manipulating YouTube videos, if that’s where we’re going with this.) And if that’s I can travel around with my tablet… Well, news flash, I can also do that with a laptop.

But with a little Googling, I found out the why. This happens a lot on music videos, which happens to be the main type of video I watch, so I see that message a lot.

It’s because they don’t want me using YouTube as a music player on my tablet (or on a phone, of course–the main target of this particular restriction).

So as is often the case with these copyright things, it’s a stupid reason. And also as usual, pretty easy to work around.

  1. Use the Opera browser.
  2. Set the Opera user agent setting to desktop instead of tablet mode.
  3. Go to YouTube and watch video.

Works a treat. Thank you and good night and stop SOPA.

2 thoughts on “This video not available on mobile

  1. I downloaded the mini opera app on my iPad and checked the settings and there is no option to change th agent setting. Any suggestion?

    • Well, I don’t know much about the iPad, never having owned one. On Android, the option to change the agent in Opera was in Settings > Advanced > User Agent. This article suggests that the Apple “Opera mini” is more for mobile-only use:
      But, that same lists a bunch of other browsers there, including some with agent options. So maybe you’ll need to try one of those others on the iPad. Good luck.

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