Creative Commons Video Sharing Sites and Social Media Tools

A roundup of online video hosting services and related tools that support publishing under Creative Commons. These are services for sharing documentaries, movies and short video clips that can be legally downloaded and freely distributed under the terms of license. 

Further resources for distributing and finding CC video works and Public Domain films are also provided. The list of sites includes Catalogs, Search Engines, Open Source Software, Social Video Applications, Creative Commons Help and related video reference materials. All of the sites and tools are free to use or download. 

A word on Terms of Service

Video capture, storage and transmission is gradually becoming more accessible, enabled by low cost devices like camcorders, mobile phones, webcams, free software and falling broadband/storage costs. The creation and distribution of social media has become widespread due to the abundance of Internet technologies and new online media services (Web 2.0).

However, the sites used to host and distribute video online differ widely in their end user agreements and Terms of Service. Therefore some video sites are ‘friendlier’ than others for content creators, depending on how the creator/copyright holder permits the work to be used and whether or not they get paid for their creations.

It’s important to recognize that major video sharing sites like Google, Yahoo! and YouTube can sell or license uploaded videos to third parties without financial compensation to the creator. This may change in the future and YouTube founder Chad Hurley has hinted that YouTube plans to share revenue with original content creators.

For people using Creative Commons licenses this is extremely important because their choice of license is often determined by requirements involving pre-cleared authorization, user flexibility, and various copyright protections, including non-commercial use. These copyrights can be superceded or nullified by agreeing to the TOS of the video hosting service. Superceded terms may be perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable and transferable so it’s helpful to know what the user may be giving up before accepting the terms (See links under Comparison Surveys below).

Most video sharing sites have some kind of involvement with commercial partners such as advertisers, licensees, sponsors, affiliates and the like. This includes aggregators and search engines that spider, index and display videos elsewhere.

When choosing a host it’s often a case of finding a balance between the features on offer and the Terms of Service, especially in the grey area of non-commercial use licenses. When using a third-party hosting service it’s worth remembering the role partnership deals play in the financing of their operations. It’s wise to read the TOS, privacy policy and copyright policy first to determine the reputation and suitability of the service. An alternative is to host the files on your own server or use a suitable paid web hosting provider.

Embrace or Embargo?

Frequently people share media on popular video sites to gain high visibility for their works. For example, the independent record label Magnatune encourages the use of music in non-commercial, user-created videos uploaded to most video sites, see 100% Legal Music for YouTube, Revver, Blip TV. All music available from Magnatune is licensed under Creative Commons and the label’s Open Music approach is well suited to new media developments like podcasting, Second Life and viral video promotion (PureVideo search). By increasing the avenues of supply Magnatune is making it easy for people to find and use their licensed music through a process involving ubiquity rather than scarcity. This flexibility is one of the main benefits of Creative Commons and the ability to legally share, reuse, and remix content embraces the idea of social media

On the other hand many indie labels using more traditional copyrights are very concerned about the illegal use of copyrighted works on social media sites like YouTube and MySpace. For recent developments see Indie music labels create Merlin to conjure licensing deals and YouTube Indie Label Talks Falter. Cease & Desist Orders Fly

About the Resources Listed Here

The sites and tools below have been selected for their open participation, support and recognition of Creative Commons licenses. The list is designed to make it easier for people to locate video hosts, video content and useful resources for working with CC video materials.

People interested in CC video resources fall broadly into two overlapping groups:


  • People releasing works under Creative Commons (content creators)

You, artists, educators, indie-filmmakers, license holders, musicians, netlabels, production companies, VJs, etc

  • People looking for works made available under Creative Commons (content users)

You, bloggers, content distributors, educational departments, fans, podcasters, remixers, students, teachers, etc

Generally people are common to both groups – content creators and content users – although it’s useful to differentiate for the purposes of categorizing resources for easier browsing.

Similarly, most of the video hosts listed here offer comparable and overlapping features but some provide specialized or notable options such as revenue sharing or educational materials and courses.

As a rough guide the more general resources appear towards the top of the list with the more specialized resources appearing towards the bottom in a loose, broad to narrow list structure. 


General Video Sharing Sites

Hosts, repositories and blogs for sharing all types of video content under Creative Commons. 

Internet Archive

A non-profit digital library offering permanent free video hosting for anyone wishing to share files in the Public Domain or under Creative Commons. Thousands of short films, documentaries, video clips and other footage can be found in the Moving Images Archive

What’s New at the Internet Archive

A blog started by the Internet Archive’s Collections Team to highlight new collections and interesting items from the Movies, Audio, and Education collections.

A free repository and open media community supported by the Internet Archive which provides hosting and bandwidth for uploaded files. Thousands of user-created videos are available under Creative Commons licenses. You can browse content by media type or use the search engine to find videos. Created by volunteers, Ourmedia is an open-source project and to use the service you should be willing to share your works with a global audience. Payments to video producers is planned. 

Podcast Spot

An audio and video podcast host with support for shows released under Creative Commons. Browse Creative Commons Licensed Episodes.  Limited free hosting is available for testing the service but users require prepaid accounts for Storage or Professional levels.

A free video hosting project and vlogosphere content aggregator supported by Intended as a mirror service for existing videoblogs, only Public Domain/Creative Commons licensed media are allowed. The Videoblog Directory provides access to categorized vodcasts for easy viewing.

An online social networking service and video platform that helps community members to communicate and share content. Users can choose from a number of Creative Commons licenses during the upload process.


Revenue Sharing Sites

These are video hosting services that also offer creators the option of earning money for sharing their videos. 


A free videoblogging, podcasting and video sharing service with thousands of grassroots videos, many of which are licensed under Creative Commons. There’s an optional advertising revenue plan that offers a 50/50 split. 


Allows content creators to upload, promote and sell media using widgetized distribution with support for Creative Commons. Primarily a digital content marketplace for buying and selling media. 

Lulu TV

A video site where creators share their works under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. Videos can easily be embedded in blogs and web pages using the supplied code. Content creators may register a Shareholder account and get paid based on the amount of traffic a video receives. No advertising is used on the site or in videos. 


A website for users to upload and share video clips. All videos use a Creative Commons Share-Alike license which permits redistribution. Clips can be embedded into blogs or websites using the automatically generated code. Short advertisements are attached to the end of videos as part of a revenue sharing model for users. 


Independent CC Video Productions

Some highlighted projects and sources of indie video productions under Creative Commons. 

Hive – NTT ICC open archive

A Tokyo based open video archive initiative dedicated to the fields of media art and informational arts. Archived video content is provided to users under a Creative Commons License. 

Internet Archive: VJ Loops & Performances

Aggregates VJ video contributions by Archive users. 


Provides a collection of Creative Commons licensed video by independent producers distributed via BitTorrent.  

Maker Faire VJ Clips (2006)

A collection of short clips created for live video mixing. Shot on April 22, 2006 at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, they are now available under a CC Attribution 2.5 license.  


A weekly technology show from columnist Robert X Cringely. Featuring one hour interviews with leading technology experts. The NerdTV mpeg-4 video, mp3, ogg vorbis, aac audio, and text transcripts are distributed under a Creative Commons license so viewers can legally copy, redistribute, extract, edit and modify the shows. 

Open Source VJ Loops & Performances

This is a collaborative collection of VJ clips and visual works hosted at the Internet Archive. Most of the works are pre-cleared for creative use or issued under CC licenses. A useful resource for VJs, DJs, musicians and artists seeking visual content and materials. 

PIXnMIX Candy Jar

A collection of video clips produced mainly by VJs for VJs. The clips are licensed for non-commercial use under Creative Commons. They can be used live but may not be sold in commercial productions. A microsite. – Indymedia Video Distribution Network

Allows independent producers to publish high quality videos under Creative Commons. 

WGBH Lab: Video Sandbox

An online destination and initiative designed to help independent media makers. Selected video clips from the WGBH Media Library are being cleared for copyright and made available for people to cut, loop and mashup via the Lab Sandbox. All clips are made available in QuickTime’s native .mov format under Creative Commons license Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.5.


Recent History of Independent CC Movies

BBS: The Documentary

Written and directed by Jason Scott Sadofsky, the 8 episode series was the result of over 200 interviews about all aspects of the history of the dial-up Bulletin Board System. Released in 2005 under a Creative Commons Attribute-Sharealike 2.0 license, the project took around 3 years and $50,000 of investment to make. This was a bold move at the time and you can read about Jason’s thinking on copyright and distribution in this inspiring essay that explains all: Why the BBS Documentary is Creative Commons.

ASCII Jason Scott’s Weblog

A feature-length Machinima animated film from Strange Company. The magical fantasy, released in 2006 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License, comes in a series of 14, 5-10 minute episodes. They are available for streaming online or as free downloads in versions with foreign language subtitles.
A free full length comedy-romance movie by Solomon Rothman released in 2006. Anyone can watch, share, edit and use the work in their own derivative works (open source). The entire movie, including source files, is available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

A 2006 motion picture created by the Arc2 Project for a student learning scheme. The movie is available as an authorized and legal download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license. Project MySpace.


Open Learning and Education Sites

These are sites that offer free learning materials and online courses under Creative Commons.

Offers course materials and lectures from a one-year, intensive post-baccalaureate program in Computer Science (See also the Internet Archive Collection).


Berklee Shares

Provides a library of free music lessons in audio, video, and print-ready formats including: MP3 audio lessons, QuickTime video lessons, and PDF text/graphic/notation lessons. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial license. It can be used, copied, or distributed only for non-commercial educational purposes. No modifications or derivative works may be made. 

Creative Commons Education

Featured creators, tools, and works.  

Internet Archive: Open Educational Resources

Provides file hosting and distribution for some of the resources mentioned here and hundreds of other educational videos. 

MIT OpenCourseWare: Video and Audio

Offers complete video and/or audio for a selection of courses under Creative Commons. Video and audio formats are .rm and .mp3 respectively. You can learn how to save the RealPlayer video files to a disk or to your hard drive. Course materials offered on the MIT OCW Web site may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, but only for non-commercial, not-for-profit educational purposes that are made freely available to other users under the same terms defined by the MIT OCW legal notice (See also the Internet Archive Collection). 

MSRI Math Lectures: Show Talks by Speaker Name

A list that gives you an alternate way to navigate through the many videos posted on the VMath Video Collection at the Internet Archive. 

Ourmedia Learning Center

A personal media learning center with tutorials and guides for a wide range of user-generated media activities. Volunteers contribute to the open knowledge database and most materials are released under a Creative Commons license. Many contributions feature video tutorials and documentation. 

University Channel

A collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world. Audio and video materials are available to the public for viewing, listening, streaming and downloading under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharelike 2.5 license (See also the Internet Archive Collection). 


Related ‘Open License’ and Public Domain Video Resources

Initiatives and organizations for Open Content videos.  

Creative Archive Licence Group

A UK initiative, set up by The BBC, the bfi, Channel 4 and the Open University, that allows UK citizens to share and re-use content, under the terms and conditions as set out in the Creative Archive Licence. The open archives and collections can be found via the "For download" link on the side menu. Materials include clips from programmes and still images. 

Fifty Animated Short Films from the National Film Board of Canada

The collection includes several animation classics and spans 65 years of animation at the NFB. Pre-authorized licenses allow the works on the site to be used for non-commercial educational purposes. 


Archives public domain senate and house footage under a free-document license, facilitating collective reuse and annotation of metavid archived content. You can search video metadata using text queries to find keywords associated with the recording. To view the clips in a web browser you need firefox and annodex.  

Public Domain Torrents

Offers free and legal public domain movies for download via BitTorrent technology. You can choose from hundreds of classic films, animations and B-movies sorted by category. There are versions available for PDA, IPOD, PSP and some movies can be streamed via Google Video.  

Video Compilation on Free Digital Culture

A collection of educational, promotional and public performance videos about Free Culture and Free Software. 

Wikimedia Commons Videos

A repository of animations and videos distributed under a free license or in the public domain, suitable for educational purposes. 

Wikipedia: Open Source Movie

Examples and links to films using open licenses. 


PD Movies Reference Sites

Information resources for public domain films. 

The Public-Domain Movie Database

A Searchable DataBase of Public-Domain Movie Information, Episode Guides and More.  

Wikipedia: Public Domain Films

Provides a list of articles about post-1923 theatrical-released films that are in the public domain. Useful for finding movies hosted at the Internet Archive (See external links at bottom of Wikipedia entries). 


CC Video Directories and Search Tools

Directories and search engines you can use to discover CC videos and related media.  

Common Content

An open catalog of all types of Creative Commons licensed content. The site has a category for movies including documentaries, narratives and stock footage, there’s also a search engine for finding materials. 

Creative Commons Search

Special CC search tools that allow you to scour the video database, Google and Yahoo web search, Flickr photos and OWL music search. 

Open Media Directory

A clearinghouse for finding legal music and video content. Most of the sites listed distribute works in the Public Domain or under Copyleft style licenses like Creative Commons. Good for finding audio and music for use in video productions. 

Podsafe Content Search

A search Swicki for finding legal, podsafe music and video sources. Including: Public Domain works, Creative Commons licensed material, Copyleft works and other forms of licensed content. Another useful starting point for general CC search queries and unearthing related links. 

VlogMap Community 

A resource for connecting and finding video bloggers. Use the search engine to find CC related information.


Creative Commons Help and Publishing Tools

Deep links to useful pages across the Creative Commons web site and associated domains.

Homepage of the main site.  

Choosing a License and License your Work

Learn how Creative Commons works.  

Creative Commons Frequently Asked Questions

Provides answers to common questions.  

Content Curators 

A list of CC content curators and media archives (audio, video, podcasts, etc). See Film for a list of feature-length or otherwise highly notable films under CC licenses.


[ Development ] Featured projects currently under development at Creative Commons. 


A freeware application that allows you to upload Creative Commons-licensed audio and video works to the Internet Archive for free hosting with the option of publishing to your own site. It also allows you to tag your audio and video files with information about your license. 

Podcasting Tools

Provides links to podcasting legal guides, practical advice and mp3 promos to help podcasters inform listeners about their use of CC licenses. 


The latest CC news, developments and announcements. 

Wikipedia: Creative Commons

Shared community knowledge and useful links. 


Free Open Source Software and Social Video Applications

Web-applications and downloadable software for all types of video requirements.  

Audio and Video edition of NGO-in-a-box

A toolkit for DIY media makers that provides a collection of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tools, documentation and tutorials. 


Software for making media – film, video, theatre, and animation. Celtx is a Media Pre-Production Suite combining all the tools you need for rich media productions in one application. Available in 20 languages on Windows, Mac and Linux, is open source, so available as a free download from the web site. 

Creative Commons Software

Links to free and Open Source software resources.  

Ohloh – Open Source Directory

Use the search engine to explore open source video projects. 


A list of Web Mashups tagged video.  

Social Source Commons

Tools tagged with ‘video’.  

SWiK Video 

A community driven resource for sharing open source software. 

Wikipedia: List of Open Source Software Packages

Includes links to video editing software. 

Wikipedia: List of VJ Software

Live video performance software for all platforms. 


Video Hosting Comparison Surveys

Useful information and site feature comparisons.  

Comparing Terms of Service at Video Sites

A comparison of popular video hosting sites compiled by J.D. Lasica of Ourmedia and Brian Satterfield of Techsoup. Provides a breakdown of what you get and give up by consenting to the TOS at some of the major video sites. There is also a TOS comparison wiki for new contributions and amendments.

Sites that Pay for Web Video

A chart listing Web sites that enable independent video producers to make money from their work.  

Wikipedia: Comparison of Video Services

Provides tables comparing general and technical information for a number of video hosts. 


Web 2.0 Video Sites

There are now hundreds of video sharing sites online all using different Terms of Service and user license agreements. Here are some lists you can use to explore them. See the comparison surveys above for an indication of how some of them differ. 

All Things Web 2.0 – Video 2.0 – list of services. 

eConsultant: Web 2.0 Video Services – list of services also cross-posted to this Hubpage.

Everything 2.0: Video 2.0 – list of services.

MoMB – The Museum of Modern Betas – cataloged items tagged ‘video’.  


YouTube, Google Video and Others

These sites do not specifically support Creative Commons but due to their vast market share many users are uploading files of CC licensed videos/music soundtracks to gain greater visibility. Here are some tools you can use to track this material. 

Complete List of Google Video Categories

Includes Hidden Google Video Categories, Google Video By Ordered Country, The Unofficial Google Video Sitemap and Search Tips. 

Google Video: Link within a Video

Explains how to add a time location to the end of a video URL to create links to specific points inside a video. Example:

Where #35m24s represents 35 minutes, 24 seconds. Useful for flagging CC music and conversations. 


Allows you to search within the audio of videos on YouTube. Useful for digging conversations about Creative Commons. 


A video meta-search engine that can pull in results from 100s of sites. Useful for finding CC content and generating search RSS feeds.  

YouTube Online Feed Reader

Lets you quickly access and read all the main YouTube RSS feeds and search for videos. Also provides tools for easy subscription to feeds, bookmarking videos and tracking blog links to videos. 


Forums and Groups

Community sites and tools you can use to get support and answers to questions. 


A forum search engine useful for tracking conversations. 

Google Groups

Has recently updated the site look and features. Use the group search option to find information.

Videoblogging | Google Groups

For videobloggers, vloggers, voggers, and anyone else creating video content for distribution online (Open). 

Yahoo! Groups


A group for podcasters and podcast listeners to share information (Free membership required). 


DISS-covered Media

More complimentary media creations by Dave.


Creative Commons Video Showcase – Learn how Creative Commons licenses can help you avoid the problems current copyright laws create for the sharing of information. Quickly access useful CC resources, news and developments for your own media projects.

Free Sounds – Audio samples, freeware, legal audio and video downloads using Open Licenses.

Opensonics – Open music community news and resources (Squidoo).

Podcast Hosting Services – A guide to companies early to the podcasting market.

Podsafe Content Lens – A guide to resources for legal audio and video focusing on CC, copyleft and public domain works (Squidoo).

Podsafe Music Resources – Where to find free and legal mp3 audio downloads (copyleft, creative commons, public domain resources).

Viral Video Directory – A tool for tracking viral video clips and popular movies (Squidoo).

Widget Finder – Connectivity accessories for social media applications.

Other video items can be found under DISS Movies and on the Media Distribution list. 

You can share related sites and info in the comments area below or email me at daveholmesprojects (at)


4 responses to “Creative Commons Video Sharing Sites and Social Media Tools

  1. Hello Dave
    I am teaching an online unit about ICT in the classroom. I am putting together a web conference session on copyright and would like to use a screen capture of this blog page. This web conference will be recorded and available for access on the web under a creative commons share alike license. Could you please advise if I have your permission to use this screen capture?
    Kind regards
    Jenni Parker
    Sessional Tutor, Murdoch University
    Perth Western Australia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s