Open materials for your course: YouTube offers Creative Commons content and licensing

YouTube, the popular site for sharing and viewing user generated video, has started offering the option of Creative Commons licensing for users of the site.  As part of an update to the YouTube Video Editor, the site is allowing users to access a library of Creative Commons videos to incorporate and edit into their own projects.  In addition, users uploading their own videos can choose to use a Creative Commons license on their own works.

Creative Commons licenses, already in use at sites like and Flickr, allow content creators to assert copyright control over their works and, at the same time, allow for certain types of commercial and non-commercial reuse of the material with proper attribution.  If your students are creating video projects in your course and making them available at YouTube, they can legally use clips from YouTube content partners such as C-SPAN,, the Voice of America, Al Jazeera, as well as YouTube content creators that choose a Creative Commons license for their video works.

In 2008, Kevin Smith, Duke’s Scholarly Communications Officer, posted some links to resources that explain Creative Commons licensing in more detail.  The post also discusses some of the advantages of using Creative Commons licensing on academic works for university authors.