Mobile and Tablet Marketing

5 Reasons to NOT upload your Music or Videos to a Third Party

Evil Terms of UseHow many of you read “Terms of Use”? If you are providing content via a third party, you really may want to rethink it. Chances are that they have full, royalty-free, rights to manage and distribute your content without ever compensating you for it. If you’re going to go through the trouble of cutting a video, mp3, Podcast, etc…. spend the money and host it yourself. That way you don’t have to agree to some of these bizarre Terms of Use that will allow some huge company to make even MORE money off of your content.

If you upload a video to YouTube and YouTube gets a million hits off of it… you just put money in their pocket! Why would you do that?

  • YouTube – you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
  • Google – you are directing and authorizing Google to, and granting Google a royalty-free, non-exclusive right and license to, host, cache, route, transmit, store, copy, modify, distribute, perform, display, reformat, excerpt, facilitate the sale or rental of copies of, analyze, and create algorithms based on the Authorized Content in order to (i) host the Authorized Content on Google’s servers, (ii) index the Authorized Content; (iii) display, perform and distribute the Authorized Content
  • MySpace – By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to a limited license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on and through the MySpace Services.
  • FLURL – You hereby grant to Service a non-exclusive license to publish, market, sell, license, exploit, and use in any way, all materials provided to Service, the Web Site, and/or used in any manner with the Service, including but limited to music, photographs, literary material, art, names, titles and logos, trademarks, and other intellectual property. You will not be compensated for uploads or other material provided to the Service.
  • DropShots – DropShots is, unless otherwise stated, the owner of all copyright and database rights in the Service and its contents. You may not publish, distribute, extract, re-utilize or reproduce any such content in any material form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means) other than in accordance with the limited use license set out in our copyright notice.

Stop giving away your content for free! The great companies promise NEVER to utilize your content beyond the distribution through the website. The great companies WILL provide compensation if they use your content outside of the site. And the great companies will also let you continue to OWN your content – even after you leave their service.

Read the Terms of Use!

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. Hi Duane,

    I’m currently getting 500 script error on their site…
    I’ll check out the Terms of Use when they are back up. I’m not an attorney – just simply have observed many articles and discussions talking about these content aggregators truly misinforming their users on who ‘owns’ the content, how it can be utilized, and whether or not the content provider could ever be compensated for the use.


  2. Very good post, Doug.
    Especially taking into account that even rich media hosting does no longer cost an arm and a leg… (Here I can recommend MediaTemple to which I switched after having been faithful to my original server supplier for about 5 years. They have very high customer satisfaction, and I was amazed at the speed at which they reply to non-geeky customer e-mails. (And no, I am not employed by them…)

    Another reason for not hosting you own content on a 3rd party is, you never know how they change their policies in the future – well, or you never know how you change yours… (Imagine that you make a cool video/song that you put online, and some marketing institution wants to buy it off you – you cannot actually sell it once you agreed to the terms that Doug has laid out…)
    So: host yourself. Be happy. Be creative.

    And as a plug, here are some videos that I shot.

  3. Hi Doug,

    I just wanted to quickly remark on your article. Kudos to you for encouraging artists considering submitting their media to a third party host/distributor. Indeed, too many creative people fail to consider the business and legal aspects of the entertainment industry and intellectual property, and it can be easy for opportunistic people — be they managers, agents, record labels (big or small), or website operators — to take advantage of those who lack business acumen or a basic understanding of U.S. copyright law.

    That having been said, third-party publishers and distributors are left with no choice but to require that copyright owners grant the third-party a non-exclusive license to certain rights of the copyright holder (the artist), inter aliathe rights to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display the copyrighted material. Otherwise, the third-party publisher is subject to liability for copyright infringement. That is why the language in the aforementioned terms of use agreements is so similar (and our website is certainly no exception).

    If a third-party publisher seeks an exclusive license, then that is suspect, and that service should probably be avoided, depending on the circumstances.


    James Anderson
    Managing Member
    Spirit of Radio LLC

  4. Please tell us of which great companies you speak at the end of your post! You leave me hanging! I would love to maintain all rights over my music, yet I am forced to utilize some mediums for the simple fact that is where the audience lies.

    I happen to think social architecture sites, REAL ones, such as are ripe grounds for artist controlled media dispersal. At this juncture that particular one is without music hosting capabilities, yet it does allow embedded links to content sites like YouTube. I have a MySpace account which is linked with SnowCap, wherin I may set the price of the song, which they then markup. I have only been toying with it and need more exposure, so I have to consider hosting my work elsewhere. The large sites seem to be on the verge of saturation and fully slanted to video over sound only.

  5. Hi Timothy,

    All of the major companies have been revamping their terms of use and continue to do so on an ongoing basis. It would require continuous review. I’m only warning people that they must review all terms of use before uploading anything they ‘think’ they own. I would hate to see someone lose the rights to their music or video simply by uploading it to a server… where someone else can make a buck off of it!


  6. Here a valid alternative Kiqlo
    Kiqlo is not interested in the getting the rights on your content. Kiqlo allow you to sell your content while you keep your copyright. You can upload it for free, sell it for free and Kiqlo does not take any cut out of it. It is true! No Catch!
    You can download, upload without login. If you want to sell you need to be logged in. It is a new concept but it is exactly for this purpose.


  7. Do you think that people will flock to your site in the back-assed part of the internet to see a few videos? People go to Youtube and other sites because they are popular and people are way more likely to see their content. I’d say a good 80%+ of the uploader population doesn’t care whether they use it or not anyway, I know I don’t. Sure they get free hits on their site, but that’s their business. You wouldn’t be uploading to them if they didn’t get hits. The only way buying a site and getting a copyright on your content is if you are a well known, popular group who produces a lot of videos and/or pictures. Otherwise you’re just tooting your own horn and trying to be important.


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