Sharing YouTube Videos


In response to my article, warning users that it violates YouTube’s terms of service to download a video, a reader wanted to know if it was acceptable to share videos.

I want to make it clear that it’s only downloading a copy of the video to your device without permission that violates YouTube’s terms of service.  In fact, YouTube encourages you to share their videos by sharing links or posting on social media.  When you share a link, you’re taking that person to YouTube’s website. Both YouTube and the person who created the video will get credit for the view.

If for example, the video was so popular that a company purchased an ad to play in front of it, the ad will play. Both YouTube and the person who created the video will get credit for the play and receive payment from the advertiser.

You’ll notice that videos on YouTube have a share option.

When you click that option, you’ll have a choice of many social media sites, as well as a link to use for sharing.

You can also use the Embed option to display YouTube videos on your website. When you use that option, HTML code is created that you can insert on your website. It places a player right on the page.


But whether you share a link in an email or on Facebook or embed the video on your own site, the video is still actually playing from YouTube’s servers.  It will count towards the number of plays on the video and both the person who created and uploaded the video to YouTube and YouTube receive credit from advertisers for the play.


Both YouTube and the person who created the video also maintain control over it. If the person who created the video decided that they no longer wanted others to see it, they could take it down. Then the links and embedded video would stop working and the creator would maintain control.

When someone downloads a copy of the video outside of YouTube’s app, neither the site nor the person who created it gets credit for the play and they also lose control over it.

But as long as you are just sharing the link to the video, you’re using YouTube exactly in the way it was intended.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.