The TVPage Video Commerce Cloud enables its customers to discover and source content from the web in order to incorporate such content within widgets and pages generated on the TVPage Video Commerce Cloud (such widgets and pages, “Video Commerce Experiences”). Much of this content is discovered on YouTube.
TVPage has prepared this document to address a frequently asked question posed by TVPage customers when considering the usage of content from YouTube to support such Video Commerce Experiences, particularly because the usage is associated with commercial purposes.
After reviewing the YouTube Terms of Service, TVPage has formulated a clear position that there is no concern in leveraging publicly available YouTube content to support and fuel your Video Commerce Experiences for commercial purposes. The following explains the logic behind this.
The Scope of YouTube Restrictions when using YouTube Content for Commercial Purposes
The YouTube Terms of Service addresses restrictions associated with the usage of YouTube content for commercial purposes. The applicable section permits the placement of content on your site as long as you do not engage in the “sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within the Service or Content”. This is the specific type of commercial usage that YouTube seeks to address with its Terms of Service.
The offering of products by a merchant on such merchant’s ecommerce site is not the “sale of an advertisement, sponsorship or promotion” placement, but rather the sale of a product. There is a fundamental distinction between the two. It is clear that YouTube must protect against selling ads on or within the content because this is YouTube’s business and it is clear that this language is not intended to extend to ecommerce.
In the event a media company (ie. ad-enabled business) were to sell a placement or “spot” to a merchant in order to promote any particular offering, such media company would be subject to the scope of the YouTube Terms of Service and therefore restricted from selling such promotions on or within the content. A merchant is not in the business of selling spots for promotions. A merchant is in the business of selling products.
It should be noted that the YouTube Terms of Service does permit the placement and sale of ads alongside the YouTube content provided the page contains other material not obtained from YouTube and is of sufficient basis for such ad sales.
YouTube specifically refers to “ad-enabled” sites in the section that states the above limitations, further emphasizing the clear focus by YouTube on media, and not ecommerce. In summary,the restrictions associated with using YouTube for commercial purposes do not apply to merchants, but are rather limited to ad-enabled businesses that are naturally competitive with YouTube, which is itself an ad-enabled business.
Copyright and Licensing with YouTube
After having established that the restrictions associated with the commercial usage of YouTube content do not apply to product sales but rather ad sales, we must also consider the matter of copyright and ensure that the necessary licenses are granted and that the merchant has the requisite authority to use the YouTube content.
This point is clearly addressed by the YouTube Terms of Service. The YouTube Terms of Service specify that the originator of the content grants a license to both YouTube and every user of the YouTube service to use, display, distribute and publish the video for any of the purposes permitted within the YouTube Terms of Service.
Since we have established, per above, that Video Commerce Experiences on an ecommerce site are within the scope of the commercial purposes permitted by the YouTube Terms of Service, we are comfortable to rely upon such usage clearly falling within the scope of the license granted by the originator of the content. Of course, originators of the content can always make any of their content private and inaccessible, in which case such content will not be available to TVPage merchants on the TVPage Video Commerce Cloud.