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Using YouTube Videos in Commercial Sites

andr3wg
andr3wg used Ask the Experts™
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Hi there,

Does anyone know the situation regarding using YouTube videos in commercial sites?
I've seen several commercial sites that use videos which appear to be sourced from YouTube.

Some of these sites use the video via the embed - so you can also watch on YouTube etc
Others such as www.englishcentral.com have their own player which has specific functionality related to the site. There seems to be no mention of YouTube etc but all the videos seem to come from there.

Is this a special partner relationship with YouTube? Who would you contact to set this up?
Any information regarding this issue would be great.

Thanks
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If you are talking about using your own videos then you do not have to contact anyone.

If you are using other people's video you need to have use rights approved from the owner of the video.

Author

Commented:
Hi,

Thanks for the response. So you're saying that for every single YouTube  video used by these sites - they contacted each original owner of the video and secured the rights to use the video in their commercial products?

Considering the volume of videos used in some commercial sites - this seems unlikely.
I am saying that is what should be happening... I think everyone knows that is not happening.

Most sites get away with posting a disclaimer and using the embed function (which allows tracking and analytics from Google). Most people are normally into asking for forgiveness than permission.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.
Commented:
If you are using other people's [YouTube] video you need to have use rights approved from the owner of the video.

This is not the case.  Once someone makes a video public on YouTube, the YouTube terms of use take over and allow that video to be embedded on other sites so long as you use the YouTube embedding methods and only alter the player according to the options allowed via the player or the YouTube API.  By uploading and setting it to public, the content creator grants a license to YouTube allowing for embedding and ad display.  The user gets their video hosted and all of the technological benefits YouTube brings.

What IS prohibited is taking that video via a capture method and repurposing it.  That's a violation of the content creator's copyright and probably the YouTube licensing terms.

Sites that are doing nothing but aggregating video from YouTube for the purposes of generating ad revenue then YouTube will eventually take action.

http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=71011
http://www.youtube.com/t/terms (Section 4 specifically)

Is this a special partner relationship with YouTube? Who would you contact to set this up?

Yes.  Sites like the one you reference are probably part of the YouTube Partners program:

http://www.youtube.com/yt/creators/partner.html

To become a YouTube partner you have to fill out the application and basically explain to YouTube why you should be considered a partner and thus get access to the cool tools.  This explanation boils down to: "how will I help YouTube make money off my content."

This process can be difficult to get through and I'm sure the number of people accepted as partners is far lower than the number of applications.  I was lucky enough to be "sponsored" by another content partner (a level 1) who had the ability to create sub-partners (level 2) so I didn't have to wade through the application process.  It also helped that we had a library of about 900 videos that appealed to a certain high-revenue advertising demographic to offer YouTube on day 1, so it made sense for them to approve us.  We wanted their hosting and ability to upload high-def video of any length and they wanted better ad penetration in our demographic so it is mutually beneficial.
What IS prohibited is taking that video via a capture method and repurposing it.  That's a violation of the content creator's copyright and probably the YouTube licensing terms.

Sites that are doing nothing but aggregating video from YouTube for the purposes of generating ad revenue then YouTube will eventually take action.

This is what I was talking about when I posted above. If they are making a "commercial" site then the assumption I made was that the OP was indeed generating revenue from videos posted and therefor re-purposing the videos for his own revenue generation.

Author

Commented:
Hi there,

Thanks very much for the responses so far. What I find confusing still is the 'What's in it for YouTube' part of the equation.

In the example I mentioned. This site is using YouTube videos to teach English. The site has a subscription model and is not driven by advertising. To anybody using the site the videos do not look like they came from YouTube - no advertising, logo anything like that and the player functionality is tailored specifically to the objective of the site - learning English.

Is this type of arrangement possible with a YouTube partner programme and would they require some sort of payment on a user basis etc? I'm presuming it's not free. It seems to be a complete re-purposing of the videos and a removal of any obvious link to YouTube - yet all the videos can be found there.

Any clarification on this use of YouTube content would be really helpful.


Thanks
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Commented:
the assumption I made was that the OP was indeed generating revenue from videos posted and therefor re-purposing the videos for his own revenue generation.

In this context "re-purposing" was meant as "download and edit the video to make a new one."  That is prohibited by the YouTube license.

But a commercial site could be anything meant to generate revenue.  If I'm selling something and I find a YouTube video that helps me sell my product, it is perfectly acceptable to use it on my site.  If I use videos in my blog posts to illustrate a concept then I'm okay.
Don't talk to me.
Commented:
Any clarification on this use of YouTube content would be really helpful.

I can't tell you what they are doing or how, merely what the permitted options are.  Anything beyond that is my best guess based on what I can see publicly, which is the same as you.  It is entirely possible that they are uploading videos, flagging them private, and doing something against the terms of use and if so, they will eventually suffer for it. However, I'm pretty sure this isn't the case.

There are several videos on their user page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/EnglishCentral

But a lot more are advertised for use at:

http://www.englishcentral.com/pricing

if the user pays a fee. So I would not be surprised at all to learn that the are partners with YouTube and are doing a custom branding option for the embedded stuff and paying fees to YouTube based on subscriber numbers who access the "thousands of fully transcribed videos covering a wide range of topics."