People post videos to YouTube or Google Videos. They did not post them to your blog, or mine, or anybody else's. But other people use the code to embed that video onto their own sites. Is that a copyright violation? What do you think?

Alternatively, we insert links to videos on our sites and/or blogs; is that different?

What if it is text, rather than video? If I "embed" a print work on my site, is that OK? What if I simply link to it?

Have the technological possibilities altered the copyright rules?

My opinion - linking does not violate copyright; it is like saying "go here if you want to read/view this." Embedding, however, is a murkier issue. The content actually becomes part of my site, even though technically it still lives on the original site and is referenced by the embedding process. But to the visitor to my site, it is right there. Any ancillary information that the original poster may want to convey is not.

Tags: copyright, embed, embedding, link, linking, video

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This is a really interesting discussion.

Original content uploaded to YouTube or Google video is governed by the terms of service of the site. Here is the You Tube verbiage:

"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, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and its successor's) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. 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."

Pretty clear that as long as the original material is not in copyright violation, then You Tube legally makes it available for embedding on other sites.

However, there can be content on those site which is not legally place there, and if we embed in a site, we might be legally liable:

"Content owners are not just targeting YouTube for copyright infringements on the site, but they are also targeting third party websites that link to infringing content on YouTube and other video sharing sites. For example QuickSilverScreen vs. Fox[36] Daily Episodes vs. Fox[37] and Columbia vs. Slashfilm.[38] The liability of linking remains a grey area with cases for and against. The law in the U.S. currently leans towards website owners being liable for infringing links[39] although they are often protected by the DMCA providing they take down infringing content when issued with a takedown notice. However, a recent court ruling in the U.S. found Google not to be liable for linking to infringing content (Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc.)." (
If only I had read the YouTube terms of service!

So, we are covered, if the content is legally there. Sounds as if this also cover use of sites like Zamzar (, which converts online video to other formats and emails you a link to download it. Sounds like that would fall under "reproduce" in the YouTube Terms of Use.
This is another example of how Web 2.0 is changing our traditional perceptions. I'm interested to see how the issue of copyright/copyleft changes how ownership is viewed. Right now, it seems to go against our capitalist views of the world. Great stuff!
I would love to think we could use great tools like Zamzar to download and replay You Tube videos from our hard drive (rather than depending on sometimes flaky internet connections) but my interpretation of the You Tube user agreement makes me think this is not allowed. Here is the excerpt from the terms of use that is under 6L ' "Restrictions of Use":

you agree not to access User Videos (as defined below) for any reason other than personal non-commercial, as provided and authorized by the normal functionality of the Services and only for Streaming . "Streaming" means the simultaneous transmission of digital materials via the Internet by YouTube, a device that has Internet access and managed by the user, so that the data are intended to be viewed in real time and not be downloaded (either permanently or temporarily), copied, stored or redistributed by the user.



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