Video Hosting Practices

Including Videos from YouTube? Some best practice tips.

Videos can add value, engagement, resource diversity, and even fun to a course.

When selecting or assessing a YouTube video, as a best practice, please check to see if the video is well-hosted, meaning the person who has uploaded it to YouTube appears to have the right to do so. YouTube may allow ill-hosted videos to be uploaded, trusting that users only upload videos they have made or have rights to use. They may not catch copyright infringement at the upload stage.

What are some quick ways you can review your selection of content?

  • Check the content creator as best you can tell from the video – is the content creator of the video the same as the person who uploaded it? For example, if the BBC logo is showing in the video identifying it as the creator, is the video uploaded by a BBC channel on YouTube or by FANZOFBBCMASHUPS?
  • Check on the host – do they have a strange collection of unrelated content on their channel or does it seem like this content is appropriate to them? (Click on host name to get to channel information, other videos)
  • Quality – does the video look strangely blurry, shaky, missing opening or closing credits? This can be a sign it was a recording made of a video by someone who was not supposed to do so.

opening screen of a YouTube video - the screen is showing the words "National Archives Inside the Vault" - there is an arrow indicating that this content has a nexus to the host. There is an arrow underneath the video and title of the video indicating the location of the host information - the host is US National Archives. Underneath the host there is an indicator listing the number of views (947,000) and the time since the video was uploaded - it was uploaded 13 years ago.

Why does it matter?

  • If something is not well hosted, the true owner could file a complaint with YouTube via their DMCA takedown notice process and the video could be pulled from YouTube without any warning to you – leaving you with a gap in your course!!
  • This may not be important if it’s one optional video, but if it’s required and/or if you rely on this video for quiz or exam questions, discussion posts, etc.. that could be stressful for you mid-semester!

Worried teacher holding her head near laptop

How can you gauge risks?

  • How long has the video been on YouTube? If it’s 15 years compared to 1 year, you may feel it’s less risky?
  • Ask yourself: Is the content something popular and well-known (such as current TV/movies/games, or a “big player” content; Examples might be famous people, actors, musicians, major TV/Movie production company content, brands such as Starbucks, Disney, Star Wars, Simpsons, Smurfs, Friends, NFL, BBC, or Pac-Man. Ill-hosted content containing this material may be higher risk, and something to avoid.
  • Alternatively: Are you considering something less current or flashy – for example, a former professor created a homemade 2 minute clip of an obscure theatre production that aired 10 years ago, under his/her fair use determination several years ago, and it’s on a department channel. This may be something that feels “lower risk.”

What are some options?

  • See if you can find a version on YouTube that is well hosted or consider alternative videos or articles that convey the same information. (search the title of the content)
  • Search in the library yourself or contact the media team at the UNT library at or check with your subject matter librarian – The library experts may have help you find something in Alexander Street, Kanopy, or other places!

Service Desk at the Media Library Services.

Finally, if you leave something in which is questionable, you may want to check it every semester to make sure the link is still valid.

Happy hunting for additions to your course!

References: YouTube Video Eisenhower's "Military-Industrial Complex" Speech Origins and Significance by the US National Archives; Adobe image 496308395.