YouTube Legalese Overview

I’m getting set up to start making my own videos, which I plan on publishing to my websites, YouTube or both. So I took a look at Google’s terms of service, but it’s a little confusing. I wondered if someone could give me a good overview.

First, I’m thinking “Why load my web accounts down with all those huge video files when I can just publish them to YouTube, then embed them in my sites?”

One problem is that, if people view the video on YouTube instead of my site, I’ll be missing out on the advertising revenue. The other problem is that other people could embed my videos on their websites - but I think they’re required to ask my permission first, right?

In fact, I had the misconception that it’s legal to embed any video you see on YouTube on your website. But after reading Google’s terms more closely, it looks like I was wrong; you’re supposed to ask the video owner permission to embed it on your site.

I guess a related question I could ask is “How do most people handle videos?” Do they just publish them to YouTube, or do they use some sort video hosting service?


There are video hosing services other than Youtube that give more control over embeds.
At work we have a Vimeo Pro account which has various embed settings per video, so you can allow or deny any embed or restrict it to only certain domains you specify.
Pro is a paid account, I’m not sure you get the same on free accounts. But there may be other options.

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And, if you enable advertising in the actual YouTube video (on YouTube) then even if people embed it elsewhere, the content is coming from YouTube (as is the ad) and you’re getting the income from that.

If you’re meaning your own custom pre-roll ads and the like, then yes, you may want to host it yourself. You really just need to crunch the numbers. If you can make more money with private advertising deals - by advertising products within your videos or doing pre, mid, or post roll ads that you organize yourself, then host your own video or get a CDN service to help you host it.

If you’d prefer to just enable YouTube ads and let them do it for you, but perhaps for less income per video, then host them on YouTube - and then the more people that link to it or embed it, the better, really.

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Interesting. So if A produces a video and publishes it to YouTube, then B (who has Google ads on his site) embeds the video, any advertising revenue would go to to A (and Google, of course)?

That seems a little confusing. Then again, I guess you don’t get ad revenue unless someone actually clicks on an ad. So if they click on an ad on the video, then I would get that revenue, rather than the person hosting my video.

There’s a difference between embedding a video in a page and putting ads in that page vs having ads in a video.

YouTube’s ads that we’re discussing are the prerolls, or the little tiny windows the pop up in the corner of the video, etc.

If someone puts ads on the page they’re embedding your video in that’s a whole other can of worms, they’re making the money from those separate ads - and depending on the situation, that probably is an ethical, and possibly a legal, violation.

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