Embedding Videos On Your Website- Is It Copyright Infringement?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Get It Done For Me Virtual Services DRE# SL641317

There is a well known court case. Are you allowed to take videos from a video site such as YouTube and place them on your website?  embedding videos on your website

There are two parts to the answer of this question. One is that YouTube has specific terms of service and use that cover state that by uploading a public video you are giving permission for others to embed that video on their websites. But YouTube is not the only kid on the video block. There are hundreds of video hosting sites. They may not all have the same TOS as YouTube has. 

The Flava Works Inc v. Gunter ( MyVidster)  court case has been settled by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The court rules that a site that embeds copyrighted videos from another site is not committing copyright infringement. 

I know a lot of artists, authors and video producers don't like the sound of that ruling, nonetheless that is the future of copyright and the distribution of content. 

The higher court ruled against the lower court who had ruled that this was copyright infringement. 

This means that you can go to YouTube and choose videos to embed on your website. You can go to any Video syndication site and do the same thing. 

What you can not do is take a copyrighted video from YouTube or any other place and download it to your computer, then put it in your video editing software and create another copy of that video and place that on your website. That is copyright infringement.

I hear agent A who get upset that agent B has embeddd Agent A's video from YouTube on to Agent B's website. The only way around this is to make your videos private which defeats the purpose of getting traffic and prospects to view your videos. I look at it this way, Agent B is linking to Agent A's YouTube Channel which is linking to Agent A's website:) That is a good thing:) 

But the reason the court ruled that embedding is not copyright infringement is because when you embed a video on your website you are only really linking back to the original content. You are not touching the data stream so therefore you are not stealing the content. 

Both Google and Facebook filed briefs in the court case in support of MyVidster. Their point is that their sites should be treated as intermediaries and not be held liable for what users do with content pertaining to infringement. 

MPAA( Motion Pictures Association of America) filed a brief supportive of Flava Works. They asked the higher court to agree with the lower court's decision. 

The court had this to say: 

“…As long as the visitor makes no copy of the copyrighted video that he is watching, he is not violating the copyright owner’s exclusive right … His bypassing Flava’s pay wall by viewing the uploaded copy is equivalent to stealing a copyrighted book from a bookstore and reading it. That is a bad thing to do (in either case) but it is not copyright infringement.”

The court ruling also protects us who embed video on our sites from being charged with copyright infringement even if that video was originally in copyright violation. The person who first uploaded the copyrighted video on to their YouTube channel is the person guilty of copyright infringement. 


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. C. Lloyd McKenzie 08/15/2012 01:06 PM
  2. Evelyn Kennedy 08/15/2012 01:13 PM
  3. Bob Crane 07/30/2014 06:02 PM
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Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate

Thanks for the well thought through and brilliant post explaining the use of video.

Aug 17, 2012 02:41 AM #66
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Orange, CA

I found another post that said there are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding the ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals you refer to...

"this was a ruling on a preliminary injunction, not a consideration of the full merits of the case. Also, the court did not rule that embedding infringing content is legal, but rather “vacate[d] a preliminary injunction…because the district court had applied the wrong standard.”

Bottom line, it does NOT mean it's okay to embed someone else's video.

Aug 17, 2012 03:27 AM #67
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


As you always do you have presented some highly relevant information that speaks to all of us here and our blogging on AR.

I recall a post not all that long ago...OK, maybe a few years...when it was made VERY clear that the TOS on YT precluded us from embedding videos that were not our own.

That said, I suspect this issue may NOT be done and settled, just knowing how the courts and attorneys work. But it seems to clear the way for embedding going forward and relieves some anxity about what has been done by many here on AR.


Aug 17, 2012 04:14 PM #68
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Jeff- I think that this is far from over. There are strong lobbying groups too that will continue to fight sharing of content. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next few years. For right now, we get to embed away. It makes total sense. When we embed a video, that video is still on the site we embedded it from, it is linking right back to that video thus helping the author of that video. 

A case to watch will be U.S DOJ against British citizen Richard O'Dwyer. The U.S is trying to extradite him. He created a site taht linked to online videos but never hosted those videos on his site. He created TVshack.net. mostly for Brits. Some of the users linked to content that was pirated on other sites. But Richard himself never did that. Of course Richard does not have the kind of money that Google does to defend himself against Big Brother on the side of Hollywood.  Wikipedia founder is helping him get his defense. Richard deleted the post that a user had added but he was still arrested. I wonder if this is such a great use of our tax dollars. He is facing 10 years in prison. Another waste of our tax dollars since we pay $45,000 per inmate per year.

The U.K. investigated the case and the case was dropped in the U.K.

His mother has started a petition which the U.K. Guardian has joined to help - it is #saveRichard campaign if anyone would like to support him. Sign the petition.  

Aug 17, 2012 11:20 PM #69
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Michael- If you embed via YouTube- every single person who uploads a video to YouTube has already agreed to the TOS of YouTube. 

"For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your Content. However, by submitting Content 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 Content in connection with the Service and YouTube's (and its successors' and affiliates') business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in video Content you submit to the Service terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your videos from the Service. You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of your videos that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in user comments you submit are perpetual and irrevocable."

Aug 17, 2012 11:25 PM #70
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Michael- therefore- if you are a member of YouTube and you use YouTube public content- it is very clear that you agreed to allow the embedding of your videos on my website, etc. 

For those that don't like it, they don't need to participate in YouTube or they make ALL their videos PRIVATE. Of course, that gives no google juice. 

The court case does not deal with YouTube since YouTube has a TOS that is very clear. 

The court case is about another video site - MyVidster. 

Aug 17, 2012 11:28 PM #71
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Orange, CA

...but you weren't talking about YouTube, or their TOS. You were talking about a preliminary injunction in a completely different court case, drawing conclusions from that, and passing it along as fact.

In your blog you stated..."This means that you can go to YouTube and choose videos to embed on your website. You can go to any Video syndication site and do the same thing." Which is NOT necessarily correct information.

I'm not an attorney, but I do know that potential 'plagiarism' is very risky area, and the liability can be extremely high. And people need to know what's really going on before just grabbing someone else's videos or photos.

Just my 2¢



Aug 18, 2012 10:41 PM #72
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wasn't going to comment, but figured why not, I read your entire post!  Very interesting and I'm glad you posted the results of the court case. Since we all tend to share YouTubes and video it's good to know we aren't committing copyright infringement.  Thanks!

Aug 19, 2012 09:20 AM #73
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Very informative!  I always appreciate other's expertise on these matters.  Thanks for the lesson.

Aug 21, 2012 10:34 AM #74
Paddy Deighan JD PhD
TimeshareLawyers.pro - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

YouTube takes the position that everythikng is a Copyright infriongement. I have had to battle them three times (twice for clients) and I prevailed all three times but they put me (us) through a LOT

Feb 16, 2013 09:36 PM #75
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

It will be interesting to see how this issue continues to unfold.  It seems almost impossible to police and mandate materials that a person is putting on the worldwide web for everyone.  

Feb 16, 2013 09:41 PM #76
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

So does this mean it is alright for me to continue with my movie review as long as I continue to say that they were found on YouTube  they do allow you tho embedded them .


Feb 16, 2013 10:16 PM #77
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Very insightful information about this issue and thanks for posting it. Many responsible agents were afraid to use good and effective videos from sources with Terms of Service like You Tube in their communication and marketing efforts. Your information brings all of us a sigh of relief.

Feb 17, 2013 01:35 AM #78
Rob Renk
Center Street Lending - McKinney, TX
AE | Fast Fix/Flip Loans for Residential Investors

The YouTube videos I have shared  have had  the  ability to share openly displayed on the site.  If it was not to be shared that should be disabled on the YouTube video.

Feb 17, 2013 03:39 AM #79
Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate

Wow, Great information and very interesting! Thank you for sharing so great post!

Feb 17, 2013 08:27 AM #80
Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey

Honestly I don't know any of the rules, laws, or injunctions regarding copyrighting videos but the only thing I can say here is that if you are prohibited by law or statute, etc., then why would YouTube give you the option of embedding a video?!  To me, that makes no sense if you weren't allowed to embed it. 

On another note, real estate agents who upload their own videos to YouTube can add your signature at the end so that if another agent steals embeds your vidoe on their website, your contact info is still there (its almost like a re-blog).

Thanks for sharing.

Feb 17, 2013 11:33 AM #81
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

I see this post was featured in the AR daily drop. I was quite surprised to say the least to see the post revived with comments! 

Feb 17, 2013 07:50 PM #82
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Gina- Agents and anyone else who is marketing online should be happy to have their videos embedded on other websites. That is getting a link back to your YouTube account from that person's website. That helps in the original video uploaders' YouTube SEO. The only way to have any video go viral is through many people posting the video on their sites and linking to it in social media. 

Feb 17, 2013 07:53 PM #83
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Most of your questions have been answered in my comments above. I go into detail on some of the copyright questions. I am not an attorney. I am only using the TOS from YouTube in my responses. 

Feb 17, 2013 07:57 PM #84
Ben Yost - 303-587-4297
First Time Home Buyer, Mortgage Rates, Pre-Approval - Denver, CO
FHA, VA, Conventional - Mortgage Loans in De

Good stuff! Very clear! Most people don't realize how all this works!

Feb 18, 2013 02:49 AM #85
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