However, the fact that a website does not allow the download of an online video is not quite true: your browser has to download it indeed, and it even temporarily stores it for the time that it needs it.
If this does surprise you, you might find useful to take a closer look at what does your browser when you click to watch a video online.
The video, like any other resource on the web page, has to be linked in the page your browser is showing: this means that parsing the code of the page it has to find its URL.
But if you look at the page source sometimes you are not able to find it, what you see instead is something like:
<script src="http://cssjs.chesscomfiles.com/js/videoplayer.js"> </script> <script> BuildSWFObject(592,'8917218|86291812c0025268a81210a7c89cfbac','modern-benoni-1-the-amanovs-thrilling-battle','videocontainer'); </script>or
<embed allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="file=http://www.chess.com/show/ 8917218&autostart=false&config=http://www.chess.com/config.xml" height="180" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" quality="high" src="http://www.chess.com/player.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320"></embed>
This means the video location will be revealed dynamically when the video player's script is executed.
Using some tools to debug the browser behaviour, like Safari's Web Inspector, we can easily find the exact GET statement used to retrieve the video because most of the time it is the largest object in the page, so sorting the request by objects size or by loading time it will be the first result:
Taking a closer look at this GET, we will see that a query is performed using the parameters given in the above script:
Besides, every GET declares a "User-Agent" and a "Referer Page", used by the server to know the kind of browser and where this request comes from.
If the site needs to know something more about who is making the request, it will expects a cookie, a small piece of text stored by the browser to uniquely identify the current user or browsing session. You can find out this cookie in the Web Inspector by matching the web site hostname:
Now you have all the information needed to ask by yourself the video to the web server, you just need some tool to manually send out this GET: wget or cURL, to name only the best known.
With curl these are the options to set the User-Agent, the Referer and the cookie:
By putting all together we can test if it works by downloading manually the file:
$ curl -e 'http://www.chess.com/video/player/modern-benoni-1-the-amanovs-thrilling-battle' -A 'Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_8) AppleWebKit/534.52.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1.2 Safari/534.52.7' -o test_GET.mp4 -b'__utmz=1.7324923106.1.1.utmcsr=(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none); __utmc=1; __utmb=126.96.36.1999100016; __utma=1.721394078.1214124012.1214859116.8217491996.3; meebo-cim-session=3142ff122e11209bb12c; mcim=7281478shfjf8g1ASASGKJgakgaskg88&AgANGJJGAKKhagsjgasgkgkasgkkgahsAFSkgjj73263853930139501915hgn3031nc90000128tnguj%2hjfd9hgh32h88813jkgkgkkgk138; _chartbeat2=98124091hhhfaksn.1849812495199; ki_t=1324118915713%3B1324118915713%3B1324118915713%3B1%3B1; ki_u=ababa666-12de-5121-0241-fef88ccac10a; view_counter=hsahgk3r7881r7v318h13921r8; __qca=P0-841249119-8817214891285; cal=hdasjsfhjhjAJSFJHFAJ28389391239r9vkdjskfjkjfakj34h1jhjGKGKjkj3k12j3rkvjk13jrkvjk1j2kjgkjk21kjg8214781249fa99214899982191248SHHJEJBedbeuEBbeF; tf_login_id=xhejak; PHPSESSID=sakjgjk2383gakj3t98gj1jj11; __utmz=21314121.7381273182.1.1.utmcsr=(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none); __utmc=56795640; __utmb=21314188.8.131.528921496; __utma=12144141.521442111.1214148871.8912481811.1142819189.1; __utmxx=72121411.; __utmx=21314121.' 'http://www.chess.com/video/serve-video?file=modern-benoni-1-the-amanovs-thrilling-battle&streamer=lighttpd&token=8917218|86291812c0025268a81210a7c89cfbac&crap=mp4?start=0&id=playerId&client=FLASH%20MAC%2011,1,102,55&version=4.3.132&width=710' % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed 5 22.8M 5 1182k 0 0 35135 0 0:11:20 0:00:34 0:10:46 12231^C
Keep in mind that the cookies and the token used might be useful only within the current browser session, so you can make the previous test only during the current session of the browser with the web site.