Tuesday, July 05, 2011

PowerPoint Tip: You need permission to use YouTube videos

One of the most frequent topics on the PowerPoint newsgroups and forums is how to include YouTube videos in a presentation. People find a cool video on YouTube and think it would be great in their presentation. In this article I’m not going to show you how to include a YouTube video in your PowerPoint presentation. I want to discuss the right way to get permission to do so.

Permission, you ask? Why do I need permission? I thought anything on the Internet, especially YouTube, is free for the taking. Actually, this is one of the most common misconceptions around. Just because it is on the Internet does not make it free. Just like every other broadcast medium, like television or a movie theatre, videos are copyrighted by the creator, and you need permission to use the video in your work.

So how do you get permission? You must ask for it. The challenge is how do you know who to ask? Here’s the best route I’ve found. Whenever you are watching a video on YouTube, you’ll see under the video frame a line that says “Uploaded by” followed by a username that is a clickable link. If you click on the username link, you will go to the person’s YouTube channel. In the person’s profile, you will find more information about them. They may include a terms of use for their videos in the profile, but not many people do this.

If there is no terms of use statement, then you will need to contact them. If their e-mail address is listed, you can send them an e-mail. If there is no e-mail address listed, you can still use the Send Message link at the top of the profile section to send a message from your YouTube account to their account (if you have a Google account, then you automatically have a YouTube account, you just may need to activate it). If they have a website listed, you may visit the site to see if there are instructions for use of the videos on their site.

When you are sending a request, here are some pieces of information that will make it easier for the video’s creator to decide if they want to grant permission and what the terms will be:

  • Whether you plan to use the entire video or just a piece; if it is just a piece, what specific clip do you want to use (ie. from second 23 to second 42)

  • What setting will you be using it in; usually you will let them know that it will be a presentation on a certain date to a certain audience

  • Whether you will be using the video as a “good” or “bad” example; if you are showing their work as an example of what not to do, permission may be harder to get

  • Whether you will be charging for the presentation and will copies of the presentation be sold; any time you are making money from their work, expect them to ask for some compensation, which is only fair

  • What permission text they would like on the slide showing that the use is permitted and who owns the copyright; you can put this text in small font in a muted color so it does not attract undue attention

  • Can you get a high-resolution copy for the presentation since running the video directly from YouTube is a risky adventure and capturing the low-res version on YouTube will not look good in your presentation

If the creator gives you permission, you are all set. If you can’t get permission, consider a video from a different source or even a photograph to make your point. Using a YouTube video in your presentation can be a good idea, but you should think of these videos the same way you think of all videos. There needs to be a relevant point and you are not using it simply because it is “cool”. If you want to know more about incorporating videos in your PowerPoint presentation, check out the one-hour webinar I did earlier this year that shows you how to incorporate videos from many different sources into your PowerPoint slides; the details are all here.


Blogger Fred E.Miller said...

Good information, Don.

Thanks for the Post

7:22 AM  
Blogger Sam Thatte said...

I had no idea that you need permission to embed Youtube videos. Thanks for the heads up. I have a few on my blog (It is new so I don't have a lot of videos) but I will make sure to ask before I embed in the future.

On a different note, I am looking forward to hearing your presentation on the Greening of Presentations at The Presentation Summit in September.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Collins said...

Hi Dave,

I did a post reviewing the YouTube terms on embedding videos (which seem to require video creators who upload to YouTube to grant permission to YouTube AND all its users). http://www.blogpaws.com/2012/01/friday-freebies-for-your-blog-video.html

I just found your post and now I'm wondering what leads you to conclude that additional permissions must be requested?



4:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


The context I am talking about is using them in a PowerPoint presentation, which is a commercial use and not an embedding in a blog post, as you have written on. It is important for everyone to realize that a different use has different restrictions. Thanks for your comment and post link.


6:09 PM  
Blogger Tom Collins said...

Interesting distinction.

I guess I read the license that YouTube requires from anyone who uploads video as broad enough to cover embedding into a PowerPoint and/or showing on an event screen during a live event, as long as you're using the YouTube embed code to do it (i.e., using the "functionality of the Service"), under the following language in Para. 6(C) of its ToS:

"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 commercial use restrictions in Par. 4(D) don't seem to apply to presentations or live events at all, unless you were selling ad space in the presentation itself.


6:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nonsense. The terms of service for YouTube are very ambiguous on this point and a person would have a very hard time bringing a case on this, given that they have already broadcast the material. Stop worrying.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Nell said...

I have to agree. These "youtubers" come and go and anyone can set up an account.

1:02 PM  

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