Owned? Legal terms of video hosting services compared

For the Air Canada article I was researching a video hosting service that would match my requirements of:

  1. Which rights of my work I would have to give away,
  2. what usage rights I could assign to my viewers,
  3. what level of privacy I could expect in terms of disclosure of my data,
  4. and where a service had its legal residence in case of a dispute.

I’ve decided to collect and extend my findings in this post in the hope that it can help others in choosing their preferred video hosting service.

A summary is provided at the end of this post, based on my understanding of the legal terms as a non-lawyer. All excerpts were made on April 25, 2009 unless otherwise stated. Emphasis and comments mine.

Blip.tv

Rights

[...] you are granting Blip.tv, its affiliated companies and partners, a worldwide, revocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, transfer, transmit, distribute and publish that content for the purposes of displaying that content on Blip.tv and on other Web sites, devices and/or platforms.

When you upload content to Blip.tv you will be asked to select a secondary copyright license, which is additional to the license you grant to Blip.tv and its affiliated companies and partners. [...] You can designate this license to be a Creative Commons License [...] or an “All Rights Reserved” license (you also have the option of selecting “public domain,” in which case you are disclaiming all copyright to the work for the benefit of the public at large)

When you delete content from Blip.tv, such deleted content, while not available to the viewing public and other Blip.tv users, will remain on the Blip.tv server until such time as you make a specific request to Blip.tv for permanent deletion of such content from the Blip.tv server. Such requests must be made in writing, via email, to Blip.tv customer service [...]

Privacy

Blip.tv will not share personally identifiable information about you with any third-party except as required by law [...]

Legal domicile

These Terms of Use shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. Disputes arising from these Terms of Use or your use of the Blip.tv website shall be exclusively subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of New York.

Source: http://blip.tv/tos/

Dailymotion

Rights

[...] Dailymotion does not own Your Content. [...] you agree to allow any users of the Website free of charge and for personal use only, to view and transmit Your Content on or through the Website, on other electronic communication media [...], for the entire period in which Your Content is hosted on the Website. In addition, for the entire period in which your content is hosted and strictly by means of the features that enable the Website to be accessed via the Internet or through other electronic communication media or technology, you authorise us to reproduce/display Your Content and, as necessary, adjust its format for that purpose.

Source: http://www.dailymotion.com/legal/term – retrieved May 5, 2009

Privacy

Dailymotion may release Data if the law requires it to do so or in the good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with state and federal laws (such as U.S. Copyright Law) or respond to a court order, subpoena, or search warrant or to protect Dailymotion’s rights and interests

You are entitled to access and correct your Data by requesting to do so via the Contact us section, or by sending a letter to the following address: 49/51 rue Ganneron, 75018 Paris.

Source: http://www.dailymotion.com/legal/privacy

Legal domicile

Website host: Dailymotion, 49/51 rue Ganneron, 75018 Paris. Tel : + 33 1 77 35 11 11

Source: http://www.dailymotion.com/legal/infos – retrieved May 5, 2009

Comment

To my knowledge, the “in good-faith belief” clause regarding the disclosure of private data is not permitted in the European Union. I think it equals a blank approval that leaves significant room for interpretation on the service provider’s side while leaving users completely in the dark about the exact conditions under which personal data can be released. Even if such a disclosure is successfully appealed in court, a privacy breach can generally not be undone.

Flickr Video

These terms are specific to Canadian users.

Rights

Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available [...]. However, [...], you grant Yahoo! the following world-wide, royalty free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable: [...]

With respect to [...] video you submit [...], the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This licence exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Service.

You irrevocably waive any moral rights or other rights with respect to attribution of authorship or integrity in the Content you submit.

Source: http://info.yahoo.com/legal/ca/yahoo/utos/utos-ca01.html – retrieved May 2, 2009

Privacy

Yahoo! will not share personally identifiable information [...] unless [...] We reasonably believe it is necessary [...] or as otherwise required or permitted by law

Source: http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/ca/yahoo/

Legal domicile

You and Yahoo! agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the province of Ontario, Canada.

Source: http://info.yahoo.com/legal/ca/yahoo/utos/utos-ca01.html – retrieved May 2, 2009

Comment

Flickr is a Yahoo brand. I do not know if/how the Terms of Use for users from other countries differ.

Google Video

Google video is no longer accepting uploads and was thus omitted.

Kyte.tv

Rights

[...] you hereby grant decentral.tv 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 Kyte Website and decentral.tv’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Kyte Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

You also hereby grant each user of the Kyte 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 pursuant to these Terms of Service.

Source: http://www.kyte.tv/home/termsOfUse.html

Privacy

We may release personally identifiable information [...] if we in good faith believe that such action is necessary to comply with state and federal laws

The decentral.tv Sites are hosted in the United States and are intended for and directed to Users in the United States [...] If you are a User accessing the decentral.tv Sites from [...] any other region [...] be advised that [...] you are transferring your personal information to the United States and you consent to that transfer.

Source: http://www.kyte.tv/home/privacyPolicy.html

Legal domicile

[...] the Kyte Website and Service shall be deemed a passive website that does not give rise to personal jurisdiction over decentral.tv, either specific or general, in jurisdictions other than California.

Source: http://www.kyte.tv/home/termsOfUse.html

LiveVideo

Rights

You hereby grant LiveVideo a limited, non-exclusive, perpetual, transferable, assignable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, worldwide license to encode, compress, convert, host, distribute, transfer, perform, reproduce, display, and otherwise exploit your content over the Site and to use such content for advertisement purposes as LiveVideo sees fit, in any medium, in its sole and absolute discretion, without any compensation to you.

In order to revoke this license granted to LiveVideo, simply remove your content.

Source: http://www.livevideo.com/info/termsofservice.aspx

Privacy

[...] LiveVideo may disclose your [...] Membership Information [...] under the following circumstances: [...] (b) Pursuant to a good faith belief that such access, preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to:
1) Enforce the LiveVideo Terms of Service;
2) Respond to claims that any uploaded materials violate the rights of third-parties;
3) Respond to your customer service requests;
4) Comply with legal process; and/or
5) Protect the rights, property, or personal safety of LiveVideo, its users, or the public.

[...] the collection of user data is governed, to the extent they exist, by United States federal and state privacy law.

Source: http://www.livevideo.com/info/privacypolicy.aspx

Legal domicile

This TOS shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, and you will agree to submit to jurisdiction to any action to enforce the terms herein in the federal or state courts of Los Angeles County, California.

Source: http://www.livevideo.com/info/termsofservice.aspx

Vimeo

Rights

By submitting your Submission to VIMEO, you hereby grant VIMEO [...] a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, sub-licensable (through multiple tiers) and transferable license (with a right to create derivative works) to use, copy, transmit or otherwise distribute, perform, modify, incorporate into other works, publicly perform and display your Submission or any portion thereof, in or through any medium, [...]. VIMEO shall be entitled to unrestricted use of any Submission for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to the submitter.

You also grant each user of the VIMEO Site and Services a non-exclusive license to access your Submission through the VIMEO Site or any other access point authorized by VIMEO, and to use, copy, transmit or otherwise distribute, perform, publicly perform, create derivative works of, and display your Submission to the extent expressly authorized by VIMEO [...]

For any Submission that is a video, the licenses granted by you herein shall terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete such Submission from the Site. [...] VIMEO may retain (but not display, distribute, or perform) server copies of Submissions that have been removed or deleted [...] For any Submission that is not a video, the licenses granted by you herein are perpetual and irrevocable.

By submitting a Submission, you waive the right to make any claim against VIMEO

Source: http://vimeo.com/terms

Privacy

We will not share your personal information with others except as indicated below, or except when we inform you in advance and give you the opportunity to opt out. We may share personal information with:

  • [...] Other businesses with which we partner or which we carefully select to offer you products, services, and promotions through our website or offline; and
  • Other third parties in limited circumstances, such as complying with legal requirements, preventing fraud, and protecting the safety of our users.

Source: http://vimeo.com/privacy

Legal domicile

These Terms of Service [...] shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York [...] You agree that the VIMEO Site (and all Services) is deemed a passive website that does not give rise to personal jurisdiction over VIMEO [...] in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York

Source: http://vimeo.com/terms

YouTube

[...] by submitting 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 [...], 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 waive any moral rights you may have in your User Submissions and grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service.

The above licenses granted by you in User Videos terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your User Videos from the YouTube Service. YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of User Submissions that have been removed or deleted.

The above licenses granted by you in User Comments are perpetual and irrevocable

Source: http://www.youtube.com/t/terms

Privacy

Google only shares personal information with other companies or individuals outside of Google in the following limited circumstances: [...] We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary [...]

Source: http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html

Legal domicile

[...] the YouTube Website shall be deemed solely based in California; and (ii) the YouTube Website shall be deemed a passive website that does not give rise to personal jurisdiction over YouTube, either specific or general, in jurisdictions other than California.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/t/terms

Comment

The Terms of Use seem to be specific to Canada based on some clauses, however there is no clear indication if or how they differ from other countries’ versions.

Summary

Blip.tv: Appears to claim only those rights needed for running the service and offers users to choose their own license for viewers. States that personal data will only be disclosed where legally required. Located in the State of New York, USA.

Dailymotion: Appears to claim only those rights needed for running the service, however it always offers viewers a license for viewing only. The service is located in France where reasonable data protection laws can be expected, however personal data will nevertheless be disclosed based on “good-faith belief”.

Flickr Video (Canada): Claims of content rights appear to be limited to needs for running the service but wording regarding “purpose” leaves some room for interpretation. No attribution for uploaded content can be expected from the service. Personal data is disclosed based on “reasonable belief”. Located in province of Ontario, Canada for Canadian users.

Kyte.tv: Claims the right to use uploaded content for advertising its service, including deriving own works from submitted content. Grants viewers the right to derive own content from uploaded videos. Processes personal data in the USA and discloses it in “good faith belief”. Service located in State of California, USA.

LiveVideo: Claims the right to “exploit [uploaded] content” for any kind of advertising and to transfer this right. Can be revoked by removing uploaded content. Processes personal data in the USA and discloses it in “good faith belief”. Service located in State of California, USA.

Vimeo: Claims the right to use uploaded content for any kind of purpose whatsoever, to derive own works from uploaded content, and to transfer their rights. Viewers are granted the right to derive their own works from uploaded content. Rights are revoked by removing videos but Vimeo is not required to act in less than a “commercially reasonable” amount of time. Discloses personal data to other businesses and in unspecified “limited circumstances”. Service is located in State of New York, USA.

YouTube: Claims the right to use uploaded content for any kind of purpose, to derive own works from uploaded content, and to transfer their rights. Viewers are granted the right to “use” the content. Rights are revoked by removing videos but YouTube is not required to act in less than a “commercially reasonable” amount of time. Discloses personal data in “good faith belief”. Service located in State of California, USA.

Conclusion

Even though the above list is sorted alphabetically, it seems that by coincidence the terms of use get worse the closer a service’s name is to the end of the alphabet, with Vimeo and YouTube being last in line by claiming significant rights from users for their own purposes.

 

Update 2011-06: Updated formatting of this post.

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63 thoughts on “Owned? Legal terms of video hosting services compared

  1. This is an excellent article! Passing this on to as many people as possible. Thanks so much.
    I would love to read the same for photo-hosting companies (Picasa, Flickr, etc). Keep up the great work.

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  4. Flickr users in the United States operate under their own Terms of Service from Yahoo! and Flickr. I believe they are similar but I have not read them in detail.

  5. So suppose I, as a content owner, upload the same clip to blip, flickr, and vimeo. If I understand this correctly, someone who wanted to could grab the clip off Vimeo and incorporate it into their own project, even though they couldn’t if I only uploaded it to blip?

  6. @rich
    To my understanding your are correct, under the condition that you do not explicitly permit viewers to reuse your content in the license which you are supposed to be able to set for your viewers when you upload at blip.tv.
    In other words, if you upload the same content to two services, for one of which you permit viewers to reuse it, any user of your content could always claim to have downloaded it from the service where you gave permission to do so.

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  8. Our TOS, paragraph 6.3 simply states that you own 100% of everything your post. Specifically if says:

    “6.3 CUSTOMER RETAINS ALL OWNERSHIP OF COPYRIGHTS OR OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS APPLICABLE TO ANY INFORMATION CUSTOMER SUBMITS TO VEEPLE, INCLUDING CUSTOMER SUBMISSIONS. Further, Veeple will not use Customer’s Submissions for marketing purposes without first receiving permission from the Customer.

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  11. So, if everything I upload to Vimeo is already under Creative Commons BY-NC, then the only right I’m giving up is a say in whether Vimeo can advertise themselves with my videos?

    There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount to worry about unless you’re still living in the historical world where copyright restrictions meant anything.

  12. @Zac
    Essential part of the CC-BY-NC license is the attribution (the BY part of the license) which requires that you are credited for your work. To my understanding, you are also releasing even this right under their terms of service:
    “By submitting a Submission [...] you further waive [...] any right of attribution you may have in any materials uploaded [...]”

    Basically, it looks like your are giving Vimeo a full exemption for all the rights (BY and NC) you wanted to retain for your work.

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  14. Thanks so much for this! We’ve been using blip since December and have been very happy with them, but it’s good to know this as an added reassurance!

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  18. Do you plan to look at the pay side of online video delivery provided by iTunes and NetFlix?

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  20. @edwin
    I haven’t thought much about those services since I don’t believe the differences will be significant. The only items of interest I can currently imagine would be the scope of data collection and analysis but again, I wouldn’t expect too many surprises here. Let me know if you were thinking of something else.

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  29. I don’t see significant difference in rights of Blip.tv and YouTube (beginning & near-the-end). For example, from your highlights:

    Blip: [Blip.tv may] create derivative works
    YouTube: [YouTube may] prepare derivative works

    Yet in the summary, you write that Blip “Appears to claim only those rights needed for running the service and offers.” In other words, you ignored your own highlighting — that Blip claims the right to prepare derivative works. Just like YouTube … which you DO include in that summary.

    Not playing fair.

    Additional similarities:
    Blip.TV: Blip.tv does not claim ownership of the materials you post, upload, input or submit to the Blip.tv site
    YouTube: you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions.

    However, I agree that Blip.tv’s adoption of CreativeCommons license for identifying how viewers may use the content is a good thing.

    YouTube does not do this – which means everything you create is protected by traditional copyright by default and requires “work” on the customer end to modify these rights.

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  41. Hi, I owne a website called islamfeed. Please give me an idea of what terms of service i should use, considering the website provides the Users video, chat, blo, live broadcasting. Islamfeed is a social network for muslims world wide, but islamfeed is based in Onatrio Canada. I would greatly appriciate your expertise please reply back to the email address given.

  42. @Abdirahman
    I am not a lawyer so I can’t make any concrete recommendations as to what would best suit your specific needs. However, feel free to use the above list as a guide for making your own choice of video hosting platform.

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  44. Hello,

    I love the work that you’ve done. It is really influencing my choice for my video hosting choice.
    I would be great if you also included a blurb about the new service ExposureRoom.com.

  45. To add to my comment:

    it seems that ExposureRoom is about as close as video hosting service could get to sainthood. Look at this passage:
    “ExposureRoom.com does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post to the ExposureRoom Services. After posting your Content to the ExposureRoom Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the ExposureRoom Services, you hereby grant to ExposureRoom.com a limited license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on and through the ExposureRoom Services.”

    Markus, please correct me if i’m missing something.
    Once again thanks for the great article.

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  47. “There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount to worry about unless you’re still living in the historical world where copyright restrictions meant anything.”

    It’s absurd that one would have to give up ownership of one’s material or grant irrevocable rights in order to display it on a third party service.

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  50. So I came across this almost two years later, and I am wondering if you know what has changed since. I’m looking for a site to upload videos myself, but it’s a little unnerving to see that so many of the sites reserve the right to not only use its users content for ‘advertising’ but to essentially re-edit and re-create.

  51. Renee, that’s a very good question but unfortunately I haven’t had the time to do another review. In your situation, I would just start by looking at the most popular sites, read their TOS and then skip to the next one if they don’t suit you. Eventually, you should find one that matches your needs.

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