SAN FRANCISCO -- YouTube said it is dabbling with letting people download videos to computers as an alternative to watching clips streamed over the Internet.
Video owners would be able to offer downloads for free or for small fees paid through a Google Checkout service, according to YouTube product manager Thai Tran.
"Many video creators on YouTube want their work to be seen far and wide," Tran wrote in a YouTube blog post.
"They don't mind sharing their work, provided that they get the proper credit."
YouTube has been seeking ways to make money off videos shared at the popular website and address complaints from film and television studios worried that pirated material is swapped there.
"We've started working with a few partners who want their videos shared universally and even enjoyed away from an Internet connection," Tran wrote.
Video copyright owners would be able to provide Creative Commons permits that license YouTube members to reuse content within specified limits.
"We're also testing an option that gives video owners the ability to permit downloading of their videos from YouTube," Tran noted.
Lecture videos from classes at a set of US universities including Stanford and Duke are being offered as free downloads at YouTube as part of a test of the service.
YouTube channels for Khan Academy, Household Hacker and Pogobat are also participating in the test of the potential "distribution and revenue-generating tool," according to Tran.
© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.