Who Owns Your Video Content?

Actual message I received from Flickr

You think you own it, right? In theory, you do. However, when you attempt to host your videos with the video sharing sites you may be shocked to learn that they have total control over what is done with your videos.

They control where those videos are placed on their website. They control what advertisements, if any, will overlay your video. They determine what quality your video will be played back at. They determine how much of your description will be shown to a viewer. They determine how many other similar videos will also appear next to yours while yours is being watched.

Because you allow a free video service to host your videos, you give up virtually all of your rights to have control over what happens to your video.

Here’s a perfect example that you can see in the photograph at the top of this post.

I went to upload a video and Flickr decided that they were going to block my video because there was “too much activity” in my account. This is not activity where I’m transferring money from a money market account to a checking account and have six transfers available each month. This is not some law that says I can only upload “X” number of videos each day or month. This is an arbitrary decision by a video sharing site to limit the number of videos in any given account. It’s all about video storage and hosting and the fact that it’s free.

If you try and find out how many videos they consider to be too many, I guarantee that you’ll waste tremendous amounts of time getting nowhere. Don’t bother reading the terms of service again since they are intentionally vague. However, make no mistake that they control all aspects of the videos on their site.

Exactly how many videos did I upload that prompted this nasty message from Flickr? Let’s see. I uploaded one video on Friday. One on Sunday. I  tried to upload another video on Tuesday. What I got was this lovely message saying “Hey buddy, slow down. You’re putting too much content on our video sharing site.”

What does this mean for you? It means you better make sure that in addition to uploading your videos to various video sharing sites that you always host your videos privately so you have total control over them.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

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Gerry Oginski is the master of online video. If you have not seen his videos, you should. He’s done more videos than any lawyer out there. The big edge that Gerry has over his competition is that his videos allow consumers to get to ‘know’ him before they even pick up the phone. His use of video on his website and his video blog is amazing.

Ben Glass
Founder of Great Legal Marketing and a practicing personal injury trial attorney in Fairfax, VA