Armed with years of YouTube video-making experience, open videos on YouTube that I wanted to adapt in the spirit of openness, and a passion for open educational resources (OER) I set out to make my first CC BY licensed YouTube video. Today I reflect on the challenges I experienced as I put together the video below … and realized that my video might not actually be as open as I wanted it to be on YouTube.


In a previous post I questioned the impact of open licensing on my YouTube channel and professional image. Am I still concerned about these things? Maybe, but there is no better way to find out what will happen than to experiment. Only time (and some research) will tell … but I have a feeling that the world will not explode if I go truly open.

After all, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about openness in a video if I restrict the ability of people to use it openly. As Lumen Learning (2017) explains, OERs grant unsolicited permission to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute content. These permissions are what enable educators and students to interact with content and learn in new innovative ways. Every time I see a published paper or journal about open education that does not embrace the tenets of OER I shake my head.

My Process 

The video above was made as one component of an application to participate as an OER fellow with eCampusOntario. As with any of my videos, content comes first. I have been thinking about this video and how to put it together since I started preparing my OER fellowship application in early October. Since I am comfortable and experienced with video creation I decided to leave the video until last, compiling ideas as I got the rest of the application together and completed a free online course called “Introduction to Open Education” by offered by David Wiley and George Simmens.


I would lay in bed at night thinking of what I wanted to say, practiced talking to myself in the mirror and all the fun things that a YouTuber does to prepare for video shooting. There are so many reasons that I am passionate about OER I had to categorize it somehow. It isn’t rocket science, but it finally clicked that I could categorize the reason for my enthusiasm into two main things …

Picture of Laura with video goals

In my older voice over videos I would script them, which allowed a lot of revision and concision. More recently, I have move towards creating an outline and talking to the camera more like I would to my classes. It prevents the awkwardness that comes with forgetting my “lines.” I think they are more engaging this way too. Of course, I left recording until Saturday night … not leaving a lot of time for editing before the application was due. But it was okay, I have produced videos in one day many times and this time I had my graphics all planned out … or not!

As an advocate for OER it only makes sense to model the sharing of open resources. Typically, during my video creation I use graphics and images from Pixabay, a wonderful source of free images that you can do anything with without attribution (YAY OER). However, in the past I have had a need to move beyond them to other sources like dollar photo (not no longer in existence) and PresenterMedia. These licensing agreements are what is currently preventing my older videos from going open (I have emailed PresenterMedia for clarification on that point since their licensing agreement specifies that it is not transferrable). I also use purchased software and the Legend app that I learned about from one of the many YouTubers I subscribe to (video below).


Knowing this video would be different I started checking what might need to change about how I produce my videos to allow for creative commons licensing. I had to stick with resources that were safe for subsequent sharing, which limited my use of the graphics I was accustom to using.


During my research about OER I noticed that a number of YouTube videos were licensed under Creative Commons. As a part of the planning phase for my video I gathered links to videos that may be useful to extract graphics from. Since they were licensed with a CC BY license I should be able to easily download, retain and remix them, right? … wrong!

bpcraddock / Pixabay

The OER myth on YouTube 

YouTube allows creative commons licensing. Wonderful. Please correct me if I am wrong here, but it seems like they actually prevent the reuse of videos posted on their website.

In the past Creative Commons licensed videos could be easily remixed into other videos and posted on a channel inside the video editor on YouTube. Well, editing capabilities inside the editor paled in comparison to what I could do with a downloaded video, but it was something. They removed the video editor in September because it wasn’t being used. Fair, it was difficult and I disliked it, but it did allow for ease of use of Creative Commons videos on YouTube in other YouTube videos. They would even link to the original video, making attribution easy. Now that the video editor is gone creators need a new way to use Creative Commons videos.

Apparently in the past it was possible to right click on a video and download it – none of the CC BY videos I wanted to use had that option. Yes, I know there are ways around that, but I do not want a copyright strike on my YouTube account. I have been very careful all these years to obey copyright guidelines. I avoid venturing into grey areas here. In the YouTube terms of service it specifically states under section 5 B

“You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content.”

So, there you have it – the creator gives me permission but YouTube prohibits downloading the video to edit it. That problem needs to be fixed!

I can’t help but think I am missing something here … take a look at the video below on YouTube … can you see a download button anywhere?


One video had an email in the description where a high quality copy of the video could be requested. Unfortunately the email I sent them bounced back. Also, that defeats the purpose – Creative Commons licensing is intended to reduce the need to ask permission to use a resource. I know I don’t want the hassle of sending my videos to anyone who whats a copy. For OER it should be easy to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute content!

Risky Business

Another issue to be cautious of – I read somewhere in my search for how to download Creative Commons YouTube videos that it is possible to get a copyright strike by using Creative Commons videos if the person who uploaded the original video broke any copyright laws. Be careful to only use content you can trust. I am feeling a little uncertain of trusting too easily.



Lumen Learning (2017). What is OER? Retrieved from

YouTube (2010). Terms of Service. Retrieved from


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.