A lot of unlisted YouTube videos are about to be made private
If you used YouTube to upload videos as “unlisted” before January 1st, 2017, then a change taking effect July 23rd will make all of those unlisted videos private unless you opt-out. If you’re okay with your old unlisted videos going private, then you won’t need to do anything.
The change comes as Google says that in 2017, they released an update including security enhancements to protect unlisted videos from being discovered by someone if the link wasn’t explicitly shared with them. Unlisted videos uploaded before 2017 do not have this security enhancement, and Google is going to forcibly switch older videos to private if you don’t opt your channel out. Google has made it easy to see if you have an account with content that might be affected just by following a link when logged into your Google account, and it will also show you what videos will be automatically set to private. To opt out, you simply need to submit your channel ID when logged in from your account.
Content creators have a choice. They can opt-out of the change and all past videos will be accessible as per usual, or they can do nothing and have their videos set to private when the 23rd of July rolls around. YouTube also suggests reuploading these older videos as they use the new unlisted system, and therefore will not be subject to this change. There are many tools out there that you can use to download YouTube videos, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
If you don’t own the unlisted content that you watch on YouTube, there’s no guarantee that it will be here and accessible in the future. Content creators have the choice to keep their content around if they want, but people who have saved unlisted videos of other people’s content may stand to lose out as a result.