YouTube's terms of service

Dear reader, I'm very pleased to introduce here Suzanne's first blog commit about her work at ToS;DR. Suzanne studies law in Sciences Po where I also study, and she's doing an internship as part of her master's program. She has been very helpful for our collaboration with the BBC (more about that later!) and she has also provided analysis of several terms already, amongst them YouTube's, which we are proud to publish now: #youtube.\ -- Hugo

When I first decided to contribute to the tos;dr project, my idea was to analyze and to work on the terms of service of youtube, since it had not been already rated while it is one of the most popular websites among people. Indeed, it is really common to search for music or videos at least once a day on Youtube!

It was thus interesting to know more about the rights of the users who actually create accounts and post videos on such a famous service. As it was my first analysis of a service, I had no real idea of what I could exactly find. However, after a glance, I felt quite surprised by certain clauses.

As a matter of fact, some aspects of these terms that I read seemed quite negative to me.

For instance, Youtube (as many other services apparently!), can change the terms of services at any time, without any notice to the user, while the terms continue to be liable to him.

Besides, the content of the users can be removed at any time, and without notice, at the sole discretion of Youtube, which is quite arbitrary and unequal. Likewise, the videos that a user may delete are in fact not really deleted, since Youtube reserves the right to retain them. Well, they do say that these deleted videos won't be displayed, distributed or performed…but still, what's the point of retaining them, then?

If some other points can also appear as mediocre, (you can check them on, I think those were the most representative for a service as Youtube. If I am absolutely not suggesting that we stop using Youtube, I am nevertheless convinced that it is important that everyone, and especially the persons who have a Youtube account and upload videos, are aware of their rights, as presented in the terms of service they have agreed to.