Good news for us website owners! You can embed any YouTube Video and not worry about violating anyone else’s copyrights! This is good for us, because that means we can go to YouTube, or any other video sharing site, and find a video to add to our blog/website, and not have to stress about if we have the rights to use it or not! I first learned this from Mashable that on August 2, 2012 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a site that embeds copyrighted videos from another site is not committing copyright infringement. It did not focus on YouTube specifically, but all video sharing sites. I am focusing on YouTube since it’s the largest and most popular one.
It all started with The Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter case started when Flava Works (a video production company) learned that the users of myVidster (a video bookmarking website) were embedding Flava videos on myVidster site. They believed that their copyright was being infringed, and that myVidster was liable for that. So the focus of this case came to this: Does embedding a copyrighted video constitute copyright infringement? The court ruling says, “no.” “Embedding” is different from “copying.” If you copy a copyrighted video and upload it to a website, that would touch the copyright law, but “embedding” is different. The judge gave this example to illustrate his point:
“…As long as the visitor makes no copy of the copyrighted video that he is watching, he is not violating the copyright owner’s exclusive right … His bypassing Flava’s pay wall by viewing the uploaded copy is equivalent to stealing a copyrighted book from a bookstore and reading it. That is a bad thing to do (in either case) but it is not copyright infringement.”
(To learn more about the details of this ruling from legal perspectives, read this great article on arstechnica.com.) So what this means is that you can now freely find a video on YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, or any other video sharing site, embed that video into your WordPress website, and not have to worry about the copyright issue. As always, you DO need to be concerned about any video that YOU upload to your OWN YouTube account. Make sure you are complying with copyright laws in that case. (If you are ever unclear on this or any copyright issue, obtain legal advice) Happy Posting! * * * UPDATE August 15, 2012 * * * Please note: This ruling only applies in the Seventh Circuit districts which include:
- Central District of Illinois
- Northern District of Illinois
- Southern District of Illinois
- Northern District of Indiana
- Southern District of Indiana
- Eastern District of Wisconsin
- Western District of Wisconsin
Although I am now speculating that this ruling could carry over to other States/districts and that it would apply to everyone, please seek advice from legal professionals if you are unsure. (My friend Daniel Hall brought this important point to my attention. Thank you, Daniel!)
Now if you want to learn how to embed a YouTube video read this article
So, if someone wants to steal a video or image, all they have to do is embed it and you can do nothing about it?!? What about the fact that they’re also stealing bandwidth? Judges are so clueless!
The article was about using video sharing sites. That we as business owners can now freely go to YouTube.com (for example) and find a video that illustrates a point we want to make, and we can embed it without worrying about copyright issues.
In this instance, you are not stealing bandwidth, as that is what video sharing sites are for.
Yes, you are right about people stealing a video hosted on YOUR web hosting that you did NOT intend to be shared. In that case they are stealing and they are stealing your bandwidth.
Your post title should read – Court Rules: Embedding Videos is a Not Copyright Infringement. It does not specify Youtube. While we can take it to mean that it should apply to Youtube videos as well, this was not the case presented to the court.
You are correct! Thanks for that.
I updated my headline to reflect that my article is focusing on YouTube, since that is what I teach and what most people use.
It’s all good news
I would have used the term YouTube in your title just as you did and I would have done it for SEO purposes:) More people search questions regarding YouTube than “video”. The case was just validation that when we tell our clients they can embed YouTube videos on their sites, we are correct:)
You nailed it!
This if for YouTube: So if I read this right, you can embed a video to your blog by going through the steps outlined on http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=171780. When you say you can’t copy a video does that mean using the share option ‘copy’ which gives the tiny URL or using a video converter and making a copy of the video? I assume that only the later is what is not allowed, not the former. Thanks for the clarification.
going to youtube and using the instructions you outlined
or copying the youtube URL is fine.
what I mean is you cannot download the source code of the video file,
if it’s not yours, and put it on your site. Or use a video converter.
or to make it simpler: you cannot buy a movie on DVD and then rip it
onto your computer and cut it up with video editing software
and upload that to YOUR youtube channel.
Does this also apply to photos? For instance, if I find a photo on the web, is this for public use? Can I embed this in my website?
I’m not a copyright lawyer, so I cannot give advice about that. But in my opinion this does not apply to photos. You have to check with the copyright of the photographer to know for sure
I note that the Mashable site has removed a video, because of a copyright claim. Does your advice still hold?
This is a confusing subject! I wonder whether courts in other countries would necessarily agree with the interpretation in the case you refer to. Some of the courses on building a website at some point say: “Go to YouTube and find a suitable video to put on such and such a page.” I´ve just removed an embedded video of a TV programme from a dieting site I´m building, tho´you´d think that by putting the programme on the www the TV company is implicitly agreeing to it being used by others.
Did Mashable remove the video? or did YouTube? I am not a copyright lawyer, so I cannot give advice, I can only tell you what I would do. I go to YouTube and if I find a video I like, I put it on my site. If YouTube then later bans that video, I take it down if I see that that has happened.
I’d consult a lawyer if you are concerned
I would like to know if I add embedded Youtube videos on my website, will it be a problem if I provide advertising on my website for revenue?
If YouTube gives you the ability to embed a video, then you are allowed to do that. That is my understanding, as long as the video is not privately listed.
Dear Christina, I publish Headline Surfer in Daytona Beach, FL and I can tell you with certainty that if I embed Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or Fox Sports Daytona 500 highlights, copyright provision kicks in and the video is blank. I have found alternative embedded postings, but those third parties become restricted as well. So I would say it’s a near certainty the judge’s ruling applies to the geographical areas you identified only. … Henry Frederick, publisher, Headline Surfer®
that may be. As I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice on copyright laws. My understanding is that if the youtube channel has violated a copyright, then youtube will remove the video and it will come up blank on your website.
Timeless information. The previous poster you replied to is not a question of copyright. YouTube offers tools for ones who do own rights to their videos. These tools give the said video owner the ability to control how or if their content is embedded. (I can choose to not allow my music videos to be embedded. I have also chosen to allow google to even dispute my ownership and places ads on past videos I have the music for sale on) if you don’t know about these tools, then the default (which can change once the video owner makes an account change, or the rightful owner does so) settings are public and embedable.
Can i use google adsense and also embeded youtube videos in my site?
This is all so confusing. I wonder what applies to countries outside the US.
I have no idea what happens to countries outside of the US. consult a local lawyer
The fact is that when you upload ANY of your content to You Tube and others is that you give up that right to privacy and give your permission to embed and share anywhere–even in a blog or on another site. I’m not very internet savvy but isn’t the sharing like that a part of how videos go viral? It’s not just hits on the You Tube site itself is it?
yes sharing is how videos go viral.
This post was just to clarify that if you find a video that someone posted on youtube publically you have the right to share it
My opinion is that there is a difference between embedding and copying. If you embed you are using code to reference a video, picture, or some other kind of media that is hosted on another site/server that is not created by you directly. This is very similar to me watching a DVD at a friends house. I, nor my friend, has violated the federal copyright law. If I were to take a media file and put it in the internal files of my website and upload it as my own then I have, in my opinion, violated a copyright law. This would be similar to me telling my friend that I want to watch the movie; so we make a copy of his or her copy and I take my “new” copy home to watch it. We have, again in my opinion, broken the law, especially if we exchanged cash.
As a side note, I also do try to contact the owner of the video and ask permission to even embed the video on my website and I compliment their service to me with linking to their website or YouTube account.
On another note I noticed that someone a few years back posted with a question that I have been asking the internet via google about using an embedded video on a commercial website. I don’t know if it was the tone I heard in my head or the words that were used that confused my minuscule mind. So I am going to ask the question differently.
I have a website that needs commentary from experts all over the web. If I didn’t have the option of embedding video, I would have to explain the topic in very long drawn out “stories”. However, I have been warned not to embed (not the same as copy) others video’s and have adsense on my website at the same time as this would be a red flag to google. I actually read the terms of adsense and I don’t remember anything about embedding being a red flag; only the content of the video mattered (i.e. selling guns, adult material, etc.) . So my question is has anyone ever heard of someone losing their adsense only on the fact that they had embedded a third party video on their website that is linked to google adsense?
Also back to the article; why wouldn’t you want people to embed your video into their website? This is the new internet age of using social networking to get the word out about you. YouTube is a social networking page.
In general you would want people to embed your videos in their website.
thanks for all your great comments!
Hello, first of all thank you so much for this informative article.
I am from Pakistan and I want to know can I embed youtube videos on my blog ? As youtube has a embed code can i use that embed code on my blog ?
I am planning on making a video on how to do that. But in a nutshell, find the video on youtube and then click on the embed link. You tube will give you the code
Hi. Would I be guilty of copyright infringement if I embed a video from YouTube, where the person who uploaded it to YouTube didn’t have permission? Would they be liable only? Or would the liability of infringement extend to ALL who used the embed code, as well?
In my article here, I state that if you embed a video from YouTube, and it’s not from your YouTube account, but from someone else’s, then you are not guilty of copyright infringement. I am not a lawyer however, so if you are unsure, you should consult a lawyer. Do visit the page I referenced in the article, to learn more about the ruling.
But my interpretation is that we are free to embed public videos we find on YouTube, and it’s up to the YouTube channel owner to make sure they have the rights to the video.
Can I download video from Youtube and upload it to my website legally?
(I will put info about owner )
I have a idea to create own video-sharing website, but I’m not familar with laws much :3
I am not a lawyer, so you should consult with an attorney on that question. But I do not believe that it is legit to download a video from YouTube and upload it to your website without permission from the original owner.
This is all very useful information. I operate a kid’s website where I share corney jokes with images of cartoon dogs ( I own the copyright to those images ) sharing the jokes. To add to the entertainment value of the website I embedded a few very old Disney cartoons. Each is about six minutes in length. I got them from YouTube. I know that Disney is very protective of their property, so I wonder if I am putting myself in any danger of being pursued for copyright infringement ? I’ve removed the cartoons and replaced them with everyday YouTube puppy videos until I can get some definitive answers. I hope someone can help me out. Thanks again for all of this great information ! –
Since I am not a lawyer, I cannot give legal advice. However, my research on this article tells me that if you embed a youtube video, you do not have to worry about the copyright thing, it’s upon the owner of the youtube channel to be compliant. However when it comes to Disney, I would be more cautious than usual. Do consult a specialist or legal advice on this if you are not sure.
Oh and do get a gravatar image, so your picture shows up. Read this article: https://websitecreationworkshop.com/blog/articles/use-gravatar/
In my opinion, you should always be very careful to ensure that the YouTube channel is the actual owner or licensee of the content.
It could be possible to:
“Contributory Infringement, also called Indirect Infringement, Indirect Liability, and Vicarious Liability, requires (1) knowledge of the infringing activity and (2) a material contribution — actual assistance or inducement — to the alleged infringement.
To succeed on a contributory infringement claim, the copyright owner must show that the party actually knew or should have known of the infringing activity”
Yes, this legal thing can be quite perplexing! Glad I am NOT a lawyer.
You have commented various times that you are not a lawyer. Neither am I. (Thank God!!)
It seems, though, that a lawyer would be useful to give us definite (if possible) information on the situation in various countries. Perhaps we could put in sixpence each to cover the cost.
Does this apply to blogs that make money and as well as those that don’t? Neither is liable if they embed videos?
My understanding is that the responsibility is on the person who’s YouTube Channel it is. But I am not a copyright lawyer. So my understanding is that it does not matter if it’s a blog that makes money or not, you can still use the video as long as it’s a public video (one you can search on) in YouTube. You should consult a copyright lawyer to be sure
We can embed any videos on our site if the videos is not restricted from embedding .
Visit the below link for more details.
Yes that is a great clarification! We are allowed to embed other people’s videos if those videos are NOT restricted from being embedded.
Thanks for sharing that link for YouTube channel owners to learn how to restrict embedding
I want to embed videos from youtube. To be more specific , videos containing movie trailers and custom movie clips such as the following:
and also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSmRfAtDOU
Now I clearly see that the option Ëmbed”is not restricted meaning that the owners of the video gave their permissions for sharing and embedding the videos.
However what if the owner of the video infringes the copyright of the films? Am I automatically in trouble as well by embedding them to my website?
I have also read somewhere that if it is so, GOOGLE ADSENSE can ban your account, so I want to be on the safe side 🙂
What do you think?
If Google Adsense is saying that, then it may be true. It is my understanding that since they are not your videos, but someone else’s, then you can embed them.
HOWEVER, I am not a copyright attorney, and cannot give legal advice. You should check with an attorney if you want to be sure.
I would start with looking at Google Adsense terms, since that is what you are wanting to use them for.
Did my last comment appear 🙂
since we monitor all comments, it can take a while for them to show up. It’s live now.
Asen: you should get a gravatar account, so that your picture shows up. Go here: https://websitecreationworkshop.com/blog/wordpress-tips/what-is-a-gravatar-picture/
I strongly believe the way YouTube platform has been developed to share videos online from where exactly comes the issue of copyright violation? If user has uploaded any of his videos and has not made it private it doesn’t really matter if visitors are watching that video on YouTube itself or on some other site.
If anyone still thinks it’s a copyright violation then better they should stop YouTube from providing Embed & Share options for their videos or should stop uploading their videos on YouTube.
Many of those who think it’s a stealing of bandwidth, many companies upload their videos on YouTube to save their Hosting space and Bandwidth.
To conclude YouTube wants to make money by any means. Whether video is being watched on YouTube or on other website by embedding it they play ads to generate income.
Grow up & Share! 🙂
Thanks so much for this information. I feature a ‘video resources’ section on my website where I have embedded interesting YouTube videos for my clients/readers. My website is a business website and I make money through coaching services and also via advertising and affiliate links in my side bar.
As I am profiting from my website is it OK to embed other people’s YouTube videos? I am not claiming the content is mine at all. I’m just embedding videos and under various titles, for example, “3 must-watch videos about cable knitting!”
Does YouTube themselves have any information about this, do you know? I just want to be sure that I am doing the right thing.
Hi Christina, I would really appreciate your advice! I have the following situation: 1. Someone posted a video at YouTube and placed a licensed photo in the video 2. Thumbnail that represents this video was generated by YouTube 2. I’ve shared this video at my website (and used this low quality thumbnail as it is used by default when you share a YouTube video) + video title + wrapped with link to YouTube video. 3. Now a small law firm sends me extortion mails saying that I need to pay this photographer as there’s a copyright infringement. When I replied that I’ve shared a video and actually never hosted his images, they say that the “The content was visible and uploaded on your website…. this as an infringement, a contributor or even a distributor of the infringing content.”. Even if my website embedded the video, do you think it is a violation and I should worry about their threats?
I am not a lawyer and I cannot give legal advice. I would find appropriate council. This blog post is for information only, and it’s what my research found. But things change over time, so you should find someone qualified in copyright law
YouTube is perfect
thanks for your useful post
i have copyright problem with my Instagram and i hope they solve this problem in some ways.
I have not looked into any Instagram issues. This article just focuses on YouTube
Hello, I have a Blog that I’ve created recently on WordPress and want to embed Youtube videos on it, but still, have doubts about the legal aspects of it. If youtube allows sharing links to videos then it’s okay to share them on a blog or a website correct? Thank you
I am not a copyright expert with a legal degree, so I cannot give legal advice. But in my research it’s fine to embed a public youtube video, I do it all the time on my blog.
thanks for sharing