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 917KB)
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’.
Option B – The YouTube CC BY licence
The Creative Commons, CC BY licence gives permission that, so long as the work is attributed, anyone may:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
- for any purpose, even commercially.
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 licence.
- Videos or other content in the public domain / CC0.
How to check/change the licence on your YouTube video
When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically apply the Standard YouTube licence. If you are logged into your account, you can change this by clicking on the ‘Edit Video’ button underneath your video and then clicking on the ‘Advanced’ 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.
If you have multiple videos on YouTube that you would like to change from the Standard licence to the CC BY:
- Go to the YouTube Studio and make sure you’re logged in to your account.
- Select the video or multiple videos you want to update. A black bar will appear at the top of your video list confirming the number of videos selected and drop-down menus to either ‘Edit’ the selection or ‘Add to playlist’.
- Click on the ‘Edit’ drop-down button and select ‘Licence & rights management’.
- This will then offer the option to select either the Standard YouTube licence or the Creative Commons – Attribution licence. Once you’ve chosen your licence click on the blue ‘UPDATE VIDEOS’ button to the far right of the top tab.
- A box will pop up with the following text “Are you sure? You’re about to update the selected videos. Updating your videos is permanent and can’t be undone. [Tick box] I understand the implications of this action”. If you click the tick box you will then be able to confirm by clicking ‘Update Videos’.
- On the video you can see the licence by expanding the ‘Details’ section.
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-SA licence and include a link to the licence details.
To do this yourself:
- Go to YouTube.com and make sure you are logged in.
- Go to the video you want to edit and click on the ‘Edit Video’ button.
- 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-SA http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/