OK, the plot is thickening. It's not a global, cyber terrorist attack and it's not a mix up over video frame sizes. YouTube has deliberately started to disable software that enables people to download its video for free; hence the "no flash video found" error message.

Why? Well why do you think? To "monetize" it's enormous video libary.

Yesterday YouTube quietly announced a pilot in the US to start charging 99 cents to download one of its videos. (Take a look at my guesstimate below of how many people are downloading on a daily basis - it's quite a lot of 99 cents isn't it!)

The YouTube downloader was developed by software company BienneSoft and has become the World's most popular tool for downloading from the World's most popular video sharing website. Another downloader to be disabled is from US company Tech Crunch. Tech Crunch's website says that YouTube has told them its terms and conditions state; "You shall not copy or download any User Submission".

If YouTube wants to start charging us to download its videos, it clearly has to start finding ways to prevent us doing it for free. So this is why it has declared war on the software companies who provide the free download tools.

Both software companies are apparently fighting back and have been working through the night to re-write their code and rush out new updates to get around the YouTube defences.

In my view this is a significant development. We're surrounded by newspapers that are fighting for their lives largely because of the enormous free resources that are available online. How can anyone compete with, or invent a business model to compete with, something like YouTube that makes available for free thousands of millions of videos.

Also; YouTube doesn't own the copyright of the video content in its huge library. So what's the legal position of YouTube trying to block 3rd party software developers who design tools to enable free access?

Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 and clearly want to see a return on their investment - which is why they're trying to put up the barbed wire!

Watch this space!

Graham Majin is Head of Video Marketing and Video Production at Kent based video production company Kersh Media KWIKVID. www.video-podcasts.org.uk

YouTube starts to charge for video downloads; The World is Changing.