Commons:YouTube files

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YouTube is a video hosting platform, considered the largest one in the world (see its Wikipedia article).


Most YouTube videos are not eligible for upload to Wikimedia Commons because they are still copyrighted and are only offered under the Standard YouTube License, which is not accepted here because it is not free enough.

However, YouTube offers the option to license videos under the free license Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) which is compatible with Commons. Under Commons policies, these videos may be transferred to Wikimedia Commons, with the usual caution that you should not upload work that appears to be plagiarized or is out of scope. Be also aware of YouTube's terms of service.

Some other videos don't use this license option, but include it:

  • in the video description (e.g. Wikipedia: Username, eligible for Commons and already here), or,
  • directly in the video (e.g. Blu - Muto, not eligible for Commons as CC BY-NC-ND).

Uploaded videos should be tagged with {{YoutubeReview}} to request a license review to permanently document that the video really was available under that license. If they are released under CC BY 3.0, you can add the license template {{YouTube CC-BY}}. Additionally, you can use {{From YouTube}} to format the source information.

Search videos licensed as Creative Commons on YouTube by visiting this YouTube link and replacing "SearchText" with a different search term; or use Vera's Tool to find all open-licenced videos in a given YouTube channel.

Screenshots are similarly handled. That is, screenshots might be acceptable only if the videos are freely licensed or in the public domain.

Downloading videos from YouTube[edit]

For advanced options, see Commons:YouTube files/Downloading.

Changing the licence[edit]

To change the licence of your own videos on YouTube, so you can use the above tool to copy them to Commons, use this process (valid as of November 2020) on a desktop machine:

  1. go to your YouTube channel
  2. click the profile icon, top-right
  3. select "YouTube Studio"
  4. select "videos" (in left-hand column)
  5. select one or more videos
  6. select "Edit" on the toolbar
  7. select "Licence"
  8. use the drop-down to change the licence to "Creative Commons - Attribution"
  9. select "Update videos", on the toolbar
  10. accept

You can also change the default licence for new uploads to YouTube:

  1. go to your YouTube channel
  2. click the profile icon, top-right
  3. select "YouTube Studio"
  4. select "Settings" (on the left nav bar)
  5. select "Upload defaults"
  6. choose "Advanced settings" tab
  7. change "Licence" to "Creative Commons - Attribution"
  8. SAVE

Using Commons videos and images in your YouTube videos[edit]

On the opposite, if you want to reuse a Commons video or image as part of your new YouTube video, you must:

  1. Attribute that portion to the authors of the content you reuse, per Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia, in both the video itself and the text description, with the a link to all original Commons pages and all authors' names (see the history tab of the Commons page).
  2. License your video appropriately for the licenses of the works being used.

See also[edit]

Ways to get help