Applying a CC licence on YouTube

On this page we describe the two licensing options provided by YouTube for content uploaded to its service, and suggest an additional third option for users wanting more flexibility for their content.

Alternately this content can be viewed as a PDF file: How to apply a CC licence on YouTube.pdf (1,288kb)

 

Option A – The Standard YouTube licence

This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed.

When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.

 

Screenshot shows the options and setting available in the Advanced Settings screen when uploading content to YouTube. The License and rights ownership is set to the Standard YouTube License.

 

Option B – The YouTube CC BY licence

The Creative Commons, CC BY (3.0 US) licence gives permission that, so long as the work is attributed, anyone may:

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose, even commercially.

Along with opening up the content for wider use, this also makes the content accessible to every YouTube user for use in their own videos.

In the YouTube Video Editor, users can splice multiple CC BY clips together with their own videos. The video creator retains his copyright, and other users get to reuse that work subject to the terms of the license. Attribution is automatic under the CC BY license, meaning that any video you create using Creative Commons content will automatically show the source videos’ titles underneath the video player.

In order to be eligible to mark your YouTube video with a Creative Commons licence it must consist entirely of content created by you or cleared under the CC BY licence. Some examples of such cleared content are:

  • Your originally created content
  • Other videos marked with a CC BY license
  • Videos in the public domain

 

How to check/change the licence on your YouTube video

When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can change this by clicking on Advanced Settings. Click on the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’ and select the ‘Creative Commons – Attribution’ option. This will then mark your content as CC BY.

OR

If you have content on YouTube that you would like to change from the Standard licence to the CC BY:

  • Go to the video you want to edit and click on the pencil icon for Info and Settings.

Screenshot shows the individual video view in YouTube. The pencil icon under the video is highlighted and has hover text 'Info and Settings'.

  • Click on the Advanced Settings tab.
  • Click on the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’ and select the ‘Creative Commons – Attribution’ option.
  • This will then mark your content as CC BY.

Screenshot shows the options and setting available in the Advanced Settings screen when uploading content to YouTube. The License and rights ownership is set to the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

Option C – Note your preferred licence in the video description

 

Alternately text can be added to the description of your YouTube video stating additional licensing information you may want to provide.

 

For example, a number of the videos created for Edinburgh University MOOCs which are placed on YouTube have been notated with the CC BY-NC licence and include a link to the licence details.

 

 

To do this yourself:

  • Go to the video you want to edit and click on the pencil icon for Info and Settings.

Screenshot shows the individual video view in YouTube. The pencil icon under the video is highlighted and has hover text 'Info and Settings'.

 

The screen should already be open with the ‘Basic Info’ tab. There will be a box with the title of your video, and underneath this a box for additional description of your video.

 

  • Click anywhere in the description box and enter the details of the CC licence you would like to apply to your video.

 

The CC licence used by the University of Edinburgh MOOC team in the case of our example video used in this guide is the Licence: CC-BY-NC http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

 

Screenshot shows the Basic info tab in the Info and Settings editing tool on YouTube. In the description box the following text has been included: Licence: CC-BY-NC http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

The description underneath your YouTube video should now look something like this:

Video view on YouTube with the updated video description now including the CC licensing information added in the previous step.