On YouTube, there are two licenses to choose from, Creative Commons license and Standard YouTube license. Suppose that a composer A wants to post A's music videos on YouTube, but wants to license my music under a different term. Can A just directly state the license in the description, or A would still lose my copyright no matter what? I know copyright can be lost if one licenses their work under CC. Would A lose rights because A posts work on YouTube.

  • By the way, I understand that YouTube is not really a good place to share music content, and I did set up my SoundCloud account. I'm only using YouTube because several of my friends make videos and YouTube is better for them to use.
    – Froxcey
    Sep 21, 2021 at 7:17
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    By licensing it under CC (or any other license) one does not 'lose' his copyright. It simply means that people are allowed to use it under that license, i.e. you gave them permission to copy it (non-commercially), because that's what CC says they can do.
    – Brandin
    Sep 21, 2021 at 8:24
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    For YouTube, you should read the Terms of Service. The sections 'License to YouTube' and 'License to Other Users' pretty clearly explain the standard terms that you already give when posting your content.
    – Brandin
    Sep 21, 2021 at 8:28
  • @Brandin What I meant is by licensing a work under creative common, the license cannot be totally revoked and the license might be stuck with the work (at least that's what I read). Also, it's pretty sad that I cannot post on YouTube due to the ToS. I will tell my friend about it, and thank you for the answer.
    – Froxcey
    Sep 21, 2021 at 8:49
  • It sounds like you might have some misconception about CC, rather than YouTube. Anyway, Creative Commons is a way to allow people to copy your stuff under limited conditions. Sure, you can't really revoke that. How would you, anyway? Suppose you released some music and gave me permission to copy it on to my music players (under the CC terms). Then what would it mean if you later revoked the license? Does it mean I have to delete the copies from all my players that I already copied according to the CC terms?
    – Brandin
    Sep 21, 2021 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


The YouTube Standard License is described in the terms of service. It means that you retain your copyright:

you retain all of your ownership rights in your Content.

But you also grant YouTube very broad permissions to your content:

by submitting Content to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and YouTube's (and its successors' and affiliates') business

Yes, that means YouTube could allow others to use your content by "sublicensing" or "transferring" their license. I never heard of YouTube doing that, but the license terms would allow it if they would decide that they want to.

But without an explicit permission from you or from YouTube, people are not allowed to reproduce your content.

Agreeing to those terms (or alternatively to the Creative Commons CC-BY terms which do allow others to use your content as long as they give attribution) is a condition for using the platform.

You can also put different license terms into the video description. This is called "dual licensing". But that means that people get to choose under which license terms they want to use the content. They can either use YouTube's terms, or your own.

  • Thank you for the answer. I'm not sure if I should open a second question for this. YouTube has a lot of content creators who use all right reserved music under permission. Is this a special treatment for content creators with the Partnership? If not, does this mean I can have my video under the CC license and still have a different copyright for my music (of course I will state that the music is under a different license in the description)? If this doesn't work, does it work if I do the same thing but instead send it to my bother for him to upload it on his channel?
    – Froxcey
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:10
  • @Froxcey I doubt that those people have any special agreement with YouTube. What do you intend to achieve by licensing the video under a license which grants more rights than the music in the video? And what do you think you could achieve by letting a 3rd party upload the video on your behalf?
    – Philipp
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:13
  • My original intention is to let my friends who make videos to access my stuff easily (and they are pretty bad at using SoundCloud). This way they can use exclusive music without copyright issues. Also, I just thought it would be cool to have a music video based on the music. I don't really care about the visual part of the video, but I want to keep my music copyright. Maybe I'm over complicating stuff, and I should just give up uploading to this platform? (not rhetorical)
    – Froxcey
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:23
  • @Froxcey You can always give your friends a private license to use your music in their videos (which you can do using private communication - no reason to post about that on the Internet). But you might want to attach the condition that they use the YouTube standard license and not Creative Commons for their videos, because CC-By means that others may extract the music from the video and use it. As I wrote, YouTube could give other people permission to use the music from your video, but they usually don't.
    – Philipp
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:27
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    @Froxcey Yes, deleting your video revokes the license to YouTube. That's also in the Terms of Service. Please read the YouTube Terms of Service if you have further questions.
    – Philipp
    Sep 21, 2021 at 9:55

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