The Digital Teacher’s Solution

Peter Rock comes closest to how this actually went down.

First, despite my fragmented description of the video, everyone seems to have found it, which is a good first step. Personally, I found it on MySpace video.

But what are you gonna do for two days? Keep that browser window open, hope for no crashes, no accidental closes, no speed issues, no district filter issues?

It’s all too much for a pessimist like me to hope for, frankly. In every case like this, I can’t sleep easy unless I have a copy tucked into my hard drive, which is what I meant by that extra credit prompt.

Fella named Tim Best who plays for Team Philly e-mailed me, said he tried to use the venerable KeepVid to save the video to his hard drive but that the utility balked. The same happened to me. (Ann suggests Zamzar which is great but requires that you’ve already got the file.) I also used Firefox’s Video Downloader plug-in but that returned the ‘net equivalent of a blank stare.


So, in what was certainly the most graceful pas de deux between my teaching and technology so far, I headed to Mininova, downloaded a torrent file, pulled the file down overnight, and in the morning had the video I wanted at around three times the resolution of anything you can find streaming online.

Awesome. Legally, morally, and ethically questionable, but awesome.

[Updated: The Infamous J points out that his link offers a Windows Media download, which could then be thrown into Zamzar and converted into something else if you’re on a Mac.]

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. If I recall correctly, my link went to the correct video and included a “download” link that enabled you to download the video as a *.wmv

  2. Teaching is a purpose that is explicitly included in the doctrine of “fair uses” of copyrighted material, so I would argue that as long as the clip is destined for a classroom this activity is 100% legal.

  3. Fair use doesn’t give one the right to engage in the unauthorized trade of copyrighted work. This is what is in question here. Fair use would be applied to Dan’s use of the work in his class. Clearly it was fair, but that has no bearing as to whether or not Dan’s method of obtaining the clip was legal or not.

    That’s my understanding but IANAL.

  4. Wish I’d seen this sooner. I’ve got ways around Zamzar not liking particular links. I’m working on a post all about how to download (just about) any video to your desktop for at-your-convenience consumption.

    And I’m right with you on not sleeping easy ’til it’s on my computer. Control freak.