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First time in this exchange community, if my question needs editing please let me know.

I'm wondering is it legal to use/embed youtube videos on my own website (domain in canada). What the website does can be following scenarios:

  • List down several workout videos from youtube, and let users select a video and then they can virtually workout with other peers by all following this video together through this website.
  • Same as above, except it's education video that let user watch/study it together with others
  • last one, also very similar, but it's a cooking class video where we let several people watch/learn to do it together

I tried to search up online regarding this topic, but I was getting a mixed answer:

it's okay/legal:

  • if the video provides a embed video link (i imagine the assumption here is that since the author/video creator provided the embedding link, that implies it's probably okay to share it, which in my case is embedding/showing the video on my website) and given you are not editing or claiming ownership on the video
  • another sentiment i was seeing is that, since you are embedding youtube videos, that should be increasing the traffic for youtube and also the video creator as well, so they should be okay with it

it's not okay:

  • you need to get direct/clear authorization to use the video (no matter how you use it), the issue we had with this is that, we tried to contact several authors of videos we wanted to use, but did not get response at all.

could someone shed some light on this?

Edit: what we mean by use or embed is,

  1. we take out the embedding link in the html generated by clicking on the Share and then Embed button i.e. Go to regular youtube playing page, Share -> Embed -> take out the link from the src attribute from the Embed Video section.
  2. then we display that video using some javascript player on our website by providing the embedding link obtained above to it. We disabled user interaction on the player (i.e. user can't click on the video and go to youtube), but its clearly still a youtube video with all its original title etc (so for example, user can visit the video or even the channel if they really want to by looking it up in youtube)
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As you describe the plan, you are circumventing the Youtube embeddable player, which makes this a violation of the TOS. They say

You may also show YouTube videos through the embeddable YouTube player.

And also

You are not allowed to:

access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders; circumvent, disable, fraudulently engage with, or otherwise interfere with any part of the Service (or attempt to do any of these things), including security-related features or features that (a) prevent or restrict the copying or other use of Content or (b) limit the use of the Service or Content

That is, you must use their player, and not a different one. You should also consult their more extensive description of "how to" here, in case this describes what you are actually plannning to do.

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  • hmm interesting..., for convenience we just used an open source player and didnt use their iframes directly (and honestly speaking i dont quite understand iframes), thanks for the information, i will need to read a bit more on the differences and if we could use their player directly
    – Sam
    Jun 15 at 19:30
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What you are doing is against the terms of service which makes it illegal

The legal way to do it is specified by google here. You're violating the terms of service by using the direct link. Google is very good at noticing when people don't do it the right way (remember, they also crawl your site nightly).

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  • I just edited my post, so i think in my case, I am really just embedding the Youtube video, right? I'm definitely not downloading the video from youtube and then upload it onto my own website.
    – Sam
    Jun 15 at 16:57

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