Let's say I have a website where each page has an embedded Youtube video, and there are also a list of this web pages, can this list display those video thumbnails as the image of the link to the page that contains the embedded video?

Can those thumbnails be modified in any way?

*Update: Youtube generates four thumbnails for each video ( https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2068344/how-do-i-get-a-youtube-video-thumbnail-from-the-youtube-api ) but I couldn't find any reference to them in their Terms of Use )

  • YouTube allows you to share and embed videos. This is done via the share link at the bottom of each video. So that implies that sharing videos and embedding them is not an issue. They always are embedded with a thumbnail. If I understand you correctly, you wish another site to share the embedded pages or compile lists of videos, and maybe even edit or change the thumbnails? Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 13:58
  • Sort of, Youtube automatically generates three or four thumbnails for each video, I would like to use one of those images in my website as the thumbnail of the page that contains the embedded video in my website. I understand that Youtube encourages that other websites embed their videos, but what about using those thumbnails (or even screenshots of a video) in a website outside Youtube?
    – marcanuy
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 14:04
  • So you want to use a single frame of a video in YouTube for a purpose other than linking back to the video? Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 14:26
  • Yes, a single frame of a video to link to a page that contains the video. But it is not just a common single frame (which I think it would reduce the chances of its usage), it is one of the automatically generated images by Youtube.
    – marcanuy
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 14:30
  • I would think that 're-purposing" the content of YouTube videos for purposes other than promoting the video and thus increasing traffic to the videos would be frowned upon and is probably addressed in the Terms of Use (TOR) of YouTube. Have your read the TOR yet? Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


No, it is not authorised if the video is not distribute under the Creative Commons license and even if it is, it might not be allowed to access Youtube to only get the first image regarding their terms of service.

The terms are very explicit, under the article 5. You can't use the content on the website by another mean that the one explicitly provided by Youtube.

Also (5.1.M), "you shall not copy, reproduce [...] or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content."

Please also consider problems related to the YouTube trademark even if its not in the scope of your question.

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