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Recycle, Remix and Re-use with Creative Commons

dalas verdugo
July 13, 2010 by dalas verdugo Alum
Sharing videos on Vimeo has always gone beyond passively viewing the clips our fellow Vimeans upload. Many of us have given permission for others to take what we've done and screen it at events or chop it up and make something completely new. For a long time, we have wanted to make these kinds of permissions easier to grant, and we're pleased to announce that after working together with the fine folks over at [Creative Commons](, we've done just that! Today we are launching a new Settings option that allows you to add one of several Creative Commons licenses to your videos. What does this mean? It means that while you **still retain the copyright for your work**, you can allow other people to distribute it, remix it or use it for a new purpose, commercial or noncommercial. All of this while still requiring that they credit you for the original work. You can choose specifically what types of use you're going to allow, just head to the Settings page for one of your videos and you'll see the new options under 'License'. You can read more about [Creative Commons licenses]( at their website. We think this is going to be a real step forward for the creative culture here on Vimeo, and we're just as excited to use these new options as we are to see what you guys do with your new SUPERPOWERS. **Note to licensees** (those who will be using other's works): Vimeo's golden rule is that you may not upload videos that you did not create yourself, so this isn't a pass to redistribute other users' videos on Rather, it's an opportunity to build on a work that someone else has created with your own, unique contributions. Also, please make sure that what you do with another user's video complies with the license that person has granted. **Note to licensors** (those who will be granting permission for others to use their works): This may seem obvious, but you can only grant permission for others to use your original works, and not other people's works. So please make sure that all of the elements in the videos you license to others were created by you. If you have any specific questions, please check the [FAQ]( Have fun with it! Love, Vimeo Dudes and Dudettes


wreckandsalvage PRO

Good stuff. Would be awesome to have a bulk-edit option to change all 223 of our videos to CC remixable.

Louis Gruber

This is SO great guys. Stuff like this makes such an impact.

mike ambs

This is fantastic. I've been waiting for this on Vimeo for a long time - this really is a big deal :)

S Frank

Yeah Creative Commons and Vimeo!!!


Hooray! Finally an easy way to use CC..... Nice work Vimeo!

Chris Michael

this is fantastic! thanks for integrating cc and work to enable bulk license choice.

C. Saborío Plus

I feel very dumb... I changed the license of a video to CC but I can't find the license on the video's page :/ And everytime I get back to check the video settings the license is on 'No CC license'

Soxiam Staff

hello carlos. the license will appear in the "about this video" module under the video.

are you clicking the "save changes" button after you make the license changes?

C. Saborío Plus

Yes I click 'Save Changes' and get back to the video and nothing :B And I've done that at least 10 times now haha.


I am having the exact same problem, I try to change the license on to CC Atribution and after "Save Changes" going to again shows no license.

They are not "sticking" :(

I can reproduce this problem on firefox 3.6 and safari 5.0 on Mac.


same problem here, CC-by license is not sticking for me, aways go back to "no license" firefox 3.6 and safari 5.0 on mac.


apparently returns a 500 internal server error, and an HTML error message instead of the expected result, I can paste the error here or upload a screenshot on your bugtracking system if you like.

Graham Steel

A major and most excellent development , Vimeo. Have just updated all of my uploads with appropriate CC Licences.

Fernando Fonseca

"Vimeo's golden rule is that you may not upload videos that you did not create yourself, so this isn't a pass to redistribute other users' videos on"

I will be very interested to see the clashes that this might create.

If I find a video on flickr with a CC by-nc-nd I won't be able to upload it to VIMEO?

According to the CC License given by the autor (creator of the video), I can.

I think this is a great step, mind you, and I've been a strong advocate for Creative Commons for more than 3 years.

Still I think that that statement on the post really goes against everything that CC stands for in what comes to sharing.


C. Saborío Plus

What you say is partially true, but thats not Vimeo's approach. I'm sure any remixed material will be well received but mere redistribution through Vimeo misses the point of the community. Its a place for sharing video you have made or remixed, allowing simple redistribution could compromise the quality of the content found here and even the quality of the community.

Fernando Fonseca


- CC is about sharing as much as possible, spreading the work of any given artist as much as possible through all channels available while reassuring the artist that all his/her rights are protected.
How can this be "partially true"?

Also I don't see how it can "compromise the quality of the content found on VIMEO" or the "quality of the community".

Care to develop on that aspect?

dalas verdugo Alum

This rule is what has kept Vimeo an oasis of original content. Even public domain work cannot be uploaded to Vimeo, because you did not create the original work. However, if you remixed the public domain video, it would be welcome here.

This is site policy, separate from copyrights and licenses and all of that.

Fernando Fonseca

So what you are saying is that VIMEO's ToS and Policy are above the CC License?

I am not sure if that is even legal to tell you the truth since CC is an International Body and under the general law (of any country) no company can have ToS or policies that can't be framed inside a general legal framework.

I am not trying to start a flame here, please don't get me wrong.

As you can see by the comment below me and Michael (also someone that has been distributing CC music for a long time) had already thought of creating a movement to "press" VIMEO to adopt a CC Licensing scheme.

I am just interested in knowing what will be the policy in what regards to videos that can be found elsewhere and that have

1. CC by-
2 CC by-nc
3 CC by-nc-nd

I am leaving out -sa since those usually apply for remixed material and that I already have an answer for.

C. Saborío Plus


The 'partially true' part was answered by Dalas: "This is site policy, separate from copyrights and licenses and all of that."

My problem was with the comment "Still I think that that statement on the post really goes against everything that CC stands for in what comes to sharing."

We play under Vimeo's rules and unlike most other websites I believe Vimeo's rules do make this a better community (the best video community in my opinion). I think that the Flickr-Getty issue is indeed "against everything that CC stands for" but in this case Vimeo is just trying to keep its position as a place for original content.

And ok, maybe 'quality' wasn't the best word haha. But free services like Vimeo sometimes get filled with lots of 'noise' and redundant content.

My irst reply might have been rushed, my love for Vimeo and CC is too big : )

Fernando Fonseca

Taking an aim at Flickr and at the hilarious Getty-Images deal will not answer the question here and the fact that CC is huge on Flickr and it works smoothly :-)

My question still stands about the legal framework where an international license that is valid under many legal systems and even has a general license that abides to the general law of any (democratic) country can be ignored by a private company's ToS and/or policies.

Again I am not a troll or do I want to start a flame, don't get me wrong.

I do believe that VIMEO stands out from other video sharing services and that the adoption of a Creative Commons Licensing scheme can open the doors to very interesting interactions between artists that are already on VIMEO or that will be attracted to VIMEO exactly because of it.

But the question about the CC by-xx-xx (except -sa) still stands.

Kiera Faye

Fernando, I don't think Vimeo is treating their ToS as "above" CC license... but they have the right to say "this is what our site should be used for." So yes, while you have the *legal* right to redistribute some videos, Vimeo is just saying that that use isn't what this site is intended for. I, for one, like it that way. But when it comes down to it, they can make the rules because you get to use it for free. :) Remix away!

Sam Norton

I think it's the perfect policy to have. I understand that the idea of CC is to share, but as a video producer there are good and bad ways to do it. For me, flooding every outlet with the same video and even having multiple occurrences is not only a drain to users, but it stops a video properly catching on.

If you can direct traffic to fewer sources and spread the word on other outlets then you have a much better chance of catching a wave and having a much more substantial amount of hits.

There are already enough videos on Vimeo before we start posting duplicates and the policy is is to thank for it.

Michael Gregoire

Great news! Is it possible to search videos by license? It would be quite useful to be able to search for Creative Commons licensed content.

Michael Gregoire

For that matter… how about an "Advanced Search"? Something like Flickr has?

Michael Gregoire

Ha ha… yeah. It's like Vimeo read our minds! Now if we can get good search tools, then CC will truly be at home here.

Piotr Bargiel

Maybe a dedicated group or a channel would do the trick?

Michael Gregoire

Piotr… the problem with groups or channels is that content has to be added manually. Whereas search would search ALL indexed content.

Thanks Blake! Can't wait!


Best thing ever! :D

Jason Sigal

Fantastic news! We have a lot of curated Creative Commons music available over at the Free Music Archive. Many of these tracks have a ShareAlike clause, meaning that the new work (i.e. a video) would have to be licensed under the same license as the track...and now this is easy to do on Vimeo!

here's a recent mix of CC music -- -- hope it inspires some great new works!

Gabriel Shalom Plus

Hey Jason! Thanks for the link! I'm always on the lookout for good CC music :)

And hey Vimeo! Thanks for doing this! Its great!!! :)

Bennett Williamson

I have been digging up tracks on the Free Music Archive that allow for derivative works and blogging about them in my '10 Tracks to Sync' series:

Thanks to this update, its now much easier for video creators to give their works CC licenses that match with the music they find on the FMA. Right on Vimeo!!

Grant Willis (VK5GR) Plus

Firstly, excellent addition by Vimeo! Having released many of my videos under CC, and now seeing Vimeo make that easier is another reason why I prefer Vimeo over the rest for hosting my productions.

However I am also having some teething problems. I can also confirm that I am trying to add a CC license to a video, am selecting the license, selecting save, and then choosing "go to video". When I do that, there is nothing on the video page and if I go back into settings again the license is set back to no license. Looks like a fault when applying it to existing videos. I tried this with this one:


QUESTION: Any plans on adding the CC0 Waiver as a choice on the license selecting menu?

btw, thanks for the update!

John 0Shea

wow! I just joined VIMEO today and the first thing I did was add CC licence to my piece - amazed this is a NEW feature (but glad it's here)

Eugenia Loli Plus

Vimeo, THANK YOU. I have been distributing my non-music video work as CC-BY 3.0 for years now! I always had to fill up the description and credits with the license info, but now you offer us a way to do it via the system! This is so clean and nice! :)

My only gripe: I can't *search* for other Creative Commons videos!!! On FlickR, which also supports CC, there is a way to search for such pictures (in the Advanced Search page), and makes CC actually useful. On Vimeo people will have to search for something, and then click on *all* the resulted pages and read the license one by one. Please provide a way to search for only and each of the CC licenses! Thanks! :)

Andris Krastiņš

+1 It is very important for using Vimeo in order to make derivative works of art. Such a feature is a must and I use it a lot for searching music for my videos at

Remyyy Plus

Hey Eugenia and Andris ! It's written on the FAQ page they will implement that function.


This is going to be interesting.

Matei-Alexandru Mocanu Plus

hmm, an all too extravagant idea
i wouldnt like to have my work mixed by a vj for instance
on the other hand, youtube is offering a 5 million grant to their users (the ones who made viral videos)

Leon Gaig PRO

I also think it is an important step forward. But more difficult is change our mentality. We must bring about a new artist...

Dave Dugdale

Is there a way I can specify how I would like the attribution done? Can I say, "Feel free to use it as long as your link to my site _____"?

Blake Whitman Staff

You can write anything specifically in the description of your video along with the appropriate license.

Dave Dugdale

Thanks Blake. Almost all my photos on Flickr are in the share-a-like license. In the description I tell them that they are free to use the photo as long as they link to my site.

But 99% of the time people will cut and paste the Flickr photo embed code and never link to my site. The embed code gets linked back to Flickr instead. Flickr gets all the credit instead of me.

I would love to see sites like Flickr and Vimeo to provide an easy way for people to use my content that I give away for free and link to my site automatically.

I find that people are very lazy and will not read instructions on how they are allowed to them.

I know that 99% of the people don't attribute correctly because I can see it in the referral traffic from my Flickr stats. This happens several days a week and I write them a nice letter asking for credit and 90% of the time they do.

Blake Whitman Staff

If they embed your video, it automatically links to your account. If they download it, there is no way to ensure that will happen unfortunately.

Risa Dickens

congrats vimeo!!! a great development!!!

Grant Crowell

I have a question: Are you're saying that Vimeo only allows for ONLY original content in a video? What if I want to feature a clip of a video or image (that I have legal permission to use) in my own video on Vimeo, but I didn't originally create? Is that permissible or not? I don't understand if Vimeo is just referring to videos that were originally created elsewhere, rather than my making it a derivative work.

theLAB visuals

I concur! (well actually I havn't read all of the above, just look forwards to the remixes) ;) \o/

Angelo Evans

Amazing opportunities will come out of this !!!

Matthew Merola

This is what makes Vimeo an amazing place for artists. Thank you again for being awesome.

Omer Javaid

Finally the power to share in TRUE sense at my fingertips...


Yes! A superpower equal or greater than that of toasting bread to a perfect brown.


this rocks, fast and easy way of licensing.
Thanks for this enhancement.


Thumbs up for making CC easy. Vimeo is going to be a creative powerhouse.

DoAn Forest

Great news! Very excited about this.


ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! Changed all my videos to CC and can't wait for the new search only for cc videos. thanks!

Gennaro Giugliano

Great, I use licence creative commons from my music not commercial and no derivate

james Bickerton

Any idea on timeframe for the search for CC licensed content?


This is great. This will make a large impact in the film collaboration space and allow for innovation in film. Keep up the great work!

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