Legality of Embedding YouTube Videos on a site?

Could there be any legal issues with embedding a copyrighted YouTube video onto a commercial web page? Although the file is not hosted on the site, it appears to be part of it and would be used for financial gain.

What’s the legal standing?


The content posted in YouTube are owned by or licensed to YouTube. You cannot copy or reproduce them, except for personal use, without their prior permission. Not legally, at least

The content posted in YouTube are owned by or licensed to YouTube.

Content posted on YouTube is not owned or licensed to YouTube. Much of it is copyright infringement. YouTube encourages people to link to it’s content and has embed code on each page to let you embed YouTube content on your site.
The question is are you are liable if you embed infringing content posted on YouTube into your site.

The point is that someone other than you owns the copyright. Regardless of who that is and if YouTube is the rightful owner, you are not. Unless you have permission from the owner to post the video, it should not be posted.

YouTube TOS, clause 5F (bold mine):

YouTube permits you to link to materials on the Website for personal, non-commercial purposes only. In addition, YouTube provides an “Embeddable Player” feature, which you may incorporate into your own personal, non-commercial websites for use in accessing the materials on the Website, provided that you include a prominent link back to the YouTube website on the pages containing the Embeddable Player. YouTube reserves the right to discontinue any aspect of the YouTube Website at any time.

Legal standing seems pretty clear to me - it’s amazing what a guy can find out by actually reading the Terms of Service.

It is either owned by or licensed to YouTube, EL Camino. May be you would want to read through their Terms of Service. You cannot reproduce, sell, or use them without their prior permission, unless it is specifically for personal, no-commercial use. I believe I stated that pretty well in my first post.

Yes they do encourage you to link to their content, but that doesn’t mean they have given away their license as well. Even when you put the videos up in your site, the content is still theirs, not yours, and is subject to their rules.

As for ownership and licensing, reading their terms really helps

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display…blah blah…

You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The foregoing license granted by you terminates once you remove or delete a User Submission from the YouTube Website.

But many submitters to YouTube do not have copyright to the material and so, despite the TOS, cannot grant rights to YouTube. I can post a Comedy Central clip to YouTube and click the TOS but it doesn’t mean that YouTube or website embedders have a right to use that clip.