Copyright-safe video resource for artists – New York Times


Over 10,000 Creative Commons-licensed videos are soon to appear on a new section of YouTube’s free online video editor, The New York Times reported in June 2011. Debates over copyright on YouTube are the drivers behind the development of this new feature.

YouTube Video Editor (screenshot). Image from

YouTube Video Editor (screen capture). Image from

This new feature of YouTube Video Editor will provide users with copyright free material to develop into unique videos. Says The New York Times,

… [YouTube] said it had created a section of its free online video editor that would host Creative Commons licensed videos; this means anyone can reuse a video tagged Creative Commons, as long as they give credit to its original creators.

What is YouTube Video Editor?

A product of ‘cloud computing‘, one of the latest buzz concepts currently re-defining the online landscape, YouTube’s Video Editor allows users to virtually store their videos and edit them within YouTube’s browser. Users can also take existing video clips hosted on YouTube and cut, edit, re-colour, add sound and more to create new content.

A proliferation of mobile apps makes viewing videos on your smartphone simple. Image from

A proliferation of mobile apps makes viewing videos on your smartphone simple. Image from

YouTube Video Editor is only one editing option within a myriad of cyber programs that allow users to craft their own short takes. Web tools such as Videotoolbox and Jaycut provide similar video editing tools: users can add subtitles, style, crop and merge videos. These kinds of video editing tools have grown more prominent with the proliferation of smartphone users. DragonTape, one of the most popular video editing tools available in smartphone format, allows its users to access the databases of YouTube (video), Twitter and Soundcloud (audio) to find material.

Creative Commons-licensing explained

In hosting Creative Commons-licensed videos on YouTube, the platform has extended its capabilities as a video “crafting” tool and differentiated itself from the many other free editing options on the market. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that provides special licensing options for text, audio or image-based content with the view to encouraging a media and ideas sharing culture. YouTube Video Editor users can find, copy and adapt a video that has been licensed by Creative Commons without the risk of copyright infringement, so long as the original author is credited.

Image from

New tool, new ways to reach out

Artists, especially fledging artists who are finding their footing in the art world, have been particularly receptive to the development of such resources on the Web and have begun to use these tools to reach out to a broader audience. As Natasha Wescoat, artist and contributor to Mashable, writes in her “Artist’s Guide to YouTube”, “It’s a simple way professional creatives can make use of high traffic sites like YouTube to showcase their work and communicate with their audience in a fun and effective way.”

Democratic platform for art?

In addition, artists have found that such developments are providing an alternative to the traditional museum and gallery space. Remi Weekes and Luke White, winners of YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video in 2010, found that the Internet art event increased viewer access to their work, Seaweed. “YouTube is a lot more democratic. In the US especially, galleries are more exclusive and you have to pay to get in,” they stated in an October 2010 Guardian article.

According to Nancy Spector, Guggenheim chief curator and head judge for YouTube Play in 2010, these developments have only just begun to inspire social change in the art world; YouTube’s association with mass media and popular culture initially turned off some art lovers. “‘The site with the animal videos on it’ – we had a lot of that,” she said to the Guardian in October 2010. “But the art world will be looking and will be curious. We may actually begin to change the discourse around it. I do hope so.”

YouTube Play at Guggenheim. Image from

YouTube Play at Guggenheim. Image from


Related Topics: art resourcesart and the Internet, video art

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