With more than 2 billion videos viewed each day, you certainly have a lot of content at your fingertips on the YouTube platform. While it may be tempting to splice and re-use someone else’s content for your own purposes, know that there are some very specific laws regarding those actions. It can be done — you just need to stay within certain guidelines to avoid trouble later on.
When you’re thinking about using work that was created by someone else, be aware that copyright laws may prevent you from using other people’s work. YouTube policy grants full copyright protection to uploaders. That means you can’t splice, add to or otherwise reuse someone’s video on YouTube without first getting their permission. According to YouTube, it’s up to the user to prove they have the right to use someone else‘s work, so if you’re going to do it, you’d better have proof in writing. YouTube will remove videos from the platform if they find they are in violation of someone else’s copyright. As you get started, read YouTube’s “What is copyright?” page to get a feel for the rules.
Starting in 2011, video owners can designate their videos to be part of the “Creative Commons,” meaning other people can adapt or build upon their work. To find out whether someone’s video has been designated as a Creative Commons video on YouTube, click the “Show More” tab under any video when it’s displayed in the video viewer mode. Look for the heading that says “License.” If you see “Creative Commons” listed there, you are free to adapt the video.
Once you’ve determined that you are allowed to use the video, you can edit it using the YouTube Video Editor, also new to the public in 2011. To use it, first click “Share” under the video you want to use, then copy the URL that displays. Then go to the Video Editor by clicking on your YouTube username, and then clicking “My Videos” from the drop-down menu. Then click “Video Editor” from the menu that appears across the top of your screen. In the video editor, click the “CC” tab near the top of the page. Paste the URL you copied into the Search box, and then click the “+” sign to add the video to your video editing project. You can now add the video to another piece of video or otherwise edit it as you see fit.
While the YouTube Video Editor can be a helpful tool for editing videos straight from the platform, it may be more limiting as a video editor than other video editing tools you have at your disposal. If you want to edit someone’s video outside the platform, one option is to download the YouTube video using a third-party downloader such as KeepVid or SaveTube. To do this, you simply paste the video’s URL into the downloader’s “download” box and wait for it to download to your computer. You will still need to get the permission of the video’s owner to adapt their video, or else you’ll be in violation of their copyright.