Why is the "Unauthorized" message appearing for specific Vimeo videos, and how does it affect the download process with yt-dlp?

I’ve recently started using yt-dlp, and I’m having a strange problem with my typical script that downloads videos from Vimeo and YouTube. In particular, I’ve had trouble combining a couple of Vimeo videos following the download procedure. Four specific videos appear to be the focal point of the problem, which is probably related to their privacy settings.

The four aforementioned Vimeo videos are accessible at “http://player.vimeo.com,” and they function flawlessly with yt-dlp’s “player” feature. Nevertheless, I get a “Unauthorised” error when I attempt to access them directly through Vimeo’s site, indicating that their privacy settings might be preventing access.

Interestingly, I’m encountering the same “Unauthorized” message when attempting to download the following two videos, even though they are not set to private:

I’m in search of guidance regarding the possible causes of this issue and any strategies to work around it. My aim is to download these videos while preserving their quality. Any insights or recommendations would be highly valued.

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Hey! it seems that even for videos that are not tagged as private, you are getting an “Unauthorised” error when trying to download Vimeo videos with yt-dlp. There could be a number of causes for this problem, and I will offer solutions and perspectives.

1. Headers and User-Agent

It’s possible that Vimeo has placed limits on you to prevent automated downloads. Consider including a User-Agent header in your request to simulate a web browser as a workaround for this. A common web browser’s User-Agent string can frequently be used to get around these limitations. The yt-dlp --user-agent flag can be used to define the User-Agent.

2. Cookies

Vimeo uses cookies to manage access. It is imperative that your requests contain the required cookies. In order to accomplish this, you can use the --add-header flag in conjunction with the Cookie header to export cookies from your web browser and import them into yt-dlp.

3. Verification

Even if they are not private, certain videos might require verification. Check to see if authentication tokens or session cookies are required. It might be required to log into your Vimeo account and confirm that you are authenticated before beginning the download.

4. Header Referer

Including a Referer header in your request may enable you to get around some limitations. This header tells the server which page the request originated from. Referer header can be customized by pointing it to the Vimeo page of the desired download using the --add-header flag.

5. yt-dlp Updates

It’s critical to maintain your yt-dlp version current. Updates frequently fix problems brought on by modifications to video hosting services. You can expect faster downloads if you use the most recent version.

6. Gathering Traffic from Networks

Another strategy is to record network traffic while viewing the Vimeo video in your web browser. You can identify the required headers, cookies, and other requests by using this method. Later, you can use these details in your yt-dlp command as well.

7. Vimeo API

If the videos you are interested in are available through the Vimeo API, you might want to use it for more trustworthy access to Vimeo videos. A more controlled method of interacting with Vimeo and accessing their material is provided by the Vimeo API.

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I am confused little bit, could you explain in more detail how cookies are used for accessing Vimeo videos and how to export and import them into yt-dlp?

Yes, so basically, cookies hold data related to authentication and sessions. After authenticating into Vimeo, you effectively save the authentication session when you export cookies from your browser.
Then, you can pass these cookies with your request and inform Vimeo that it is a part of an authenticated session by using yt-dlp's --add-header flag.

Secondly, developer tools or browser extensions can be used to export cookies. Use the --add-header flag together with the Cookie header to import these cookies into yt-dlp. Just keep in mind that cookies could have expiration dates, so in order to keep access, you might need to refresh them from time to time.

You can download Vimeo films while maintaining their quality by using these methods in addition to the ones previously described, but always make sure you have the necessary rights or permissions to download and use the content.

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Understood, And what about, the User-Agent header? Does it help bypass Vimeo’s restrictions? If yes then, what should I consider when choosing a User-Agent?

Of course. It is imperative that you provide a User-Agent header in your request because certain websites, such as Vimeo, may refuse requests that do not resemble web browsers. Your request seems more like a valid user’s browsing activity by imitating the User-Agent string of a widely used web browser, which increases the likelihood of successful access.

You can utilize the User-Agent string of a popular browser, such as Chrome or Firefox when selecting a User-Agent. Just be careful not to abuse it making too many requests in a short amount of time will still cause suspicions to arise.

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Thank you so much Gumlet comunity for clearing my doubts.