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Everything You Need to Know About Video Licensing on the Internet

Everything You Need to Know About Video Licensing on the Internet

We’re living in a time where videos are being uploaded at a faster rate than ever. On average, 300 hour-worth of videos are being uploaded to YouTube every minute!

The massive volume of content available online makes it difficult for the original creators to keep track of their work and get the proper credits for it. Which is where video licensing steps in to save the day.

Before we get into the various types of licenses registered under creative commons, let’s talk a little bit about copyright.

Understanding Copyright

The Oxford Dictionary describes copyright as:

The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.”  

Copyright protection is available for original works, published or unpublished. In this article, we’ll mostly talk about licensing videos, but there are other types of work which can be protected by a copyright claim. They are:

  • Paintings
  • Literary works
  • Live performances
  • Photographs
  • Movies
  • Videos
  • Software

The primary purpose of copyright is to properly credit and protect the time, resources, effort, and creativity that the original author(s) spend on their works. But the protection is not always absolute that it prevents other people from using a person’s work as an inspiration.

Public Domain License

Public Domain means that a work has no known copyright and is free to use without any restriction or condition. Public domain license is suitable for authors and copyright owners who want to present and dedicate their works to the world.

Content Attribution and How It Helps You

Content attribution, in most licensing agencies, means that whenever others distribute or reuse your work, they are required to credit you as the original creator and owner of the original work.

Over time, content attribution can help you promote your work (and name) to more and more people – for free! Whether you’re an independent creator or a brand, this means more exposure – which could go either way. So take this with a grain of salt when you’re making your content.

Remember Logan Paul’s video with a dead man’s body? Exactly.

Creative Common Licenses

Some content creators license their work under the Creative Commons mantel. It means that the creators encourage others to repurpose their content, provided that the correct credit is attributed to the original authors and several other conditions are met.

If you create content like us, a Creative Common license can be the way to go since it allows you to control the usage and distribution of your intellectual properties.

ShareAlike (SA)

ShareAlike license means you grant permission for others to copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work as long as they distribute it on the same terms. Any diversion in publication terms from the original terms will have to be made under your permission as the original creator.

No Derivatives License (ND)

Registering your work under No Derivatives license means you grant the permission for others to copy, distribute, display and perform only the original version of your work – hence the name. If others want to create a modified version of your work, they must ask for your permission beforehand.

Non Commercial License (NC)

If your works are registered under the Non Commercial license, it means others may copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work (unless you registered it under No Derivatives) for any purpose as long as it’s not commercial. Any commercialization of your work has to be under your permission.

Getting Your Own License

Unless you plan on dedicating them solely for others to use in private studies and non-commercial activities, you should claim the copyrights for your works. Most countries and state law require everyone to ask for permission for the copyright owners for any intention to use or share content that you did not create yourself.

When Do I Need My Own License?

Ideally, as soon as you published your first work. According to Copyright.gov, copyright protection is automatic from the moment a work is created and registration is not required. However, there are benefits that you’ll get once you register your work:

  • Infringement Lawsuit: registering your work enables you to file a lawsuit to enforce copyright in federal court.
  • Evidence of Validity: having a written and valid evidence of your copyright to a certain work is always a plus.
  • Statutory Damages and Attorney’s Fees: having a registered work means you could claim statutory damages and attorney’s fees.
  • Public Record: when you register your work, the public will be able to see that it is protected by copyright and that you are the copyright owner.

What You Need to Register Your Videos and Intellectual Properties

The truth is, you don’t need anything to register copyright ownership of your videos or other intellectual properties. The minute you create it, it belongs to you – but registering your work does offer several legal benefits as mentioned above.

However, if you want to obtain a patent or a trademark in the U.S, you’ll need to apply to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. Read more on this here.

How Much Does a License Cost?

Depending on the resources invested in the making of the video, the nature of the content, its intended use, and the laws surrounding supply and demand, the cost of a video license can vary greatly.

Common variables that can affect the cost of a video’s license are:

  • Format: SD, HD, FHD, 4K, 8K
  • Audience: Local, Regional, National, Worldwide
  • Intended use: commercial, non-commercial, educational, charity, etc.
  • License duration: 1, 2, 5, 10 years or perpetual

The Most Common Licenses You Should Know

Fixed License Fee

When you purchase a fixed license fee, you are allowed to use the content for a certain amount of time and within a specific territory. In the case of original content which is being broadcast online through an SVOD or AVOD platform, you are not required to report the success or otherwise – or share the revenue you earn from it.

Revenue Share

If you have the license to a content that is being used to generate revenue (e.g monetized YouTube videos – or via other SVOD or AVOD platforms), then both you and the copyright holder can take share the revenue according to the agreement that both parties signed.

Minimum Guarantee Revenue Share

As the name suggests, when you purchase a minimum guarantee license, you usually agree to pay the copyright holder a certain amount of revenue (in most cases, upfront). This is usually followed by additional revenue share should the content which licenses you purchased over-perform.

Pay Per View

Pay per view license requires you to pay a fixed amount of fee to the copyright owner of the content for each view that it receives.