Tonight as I was working on a resource page for an upcoming webinar, I was browsing YouTube for videos on using PollEverywhere.  To my surprise, I was a bit shocked to see a video I had uploaded a year ago to my TeacherTube account on the YouTube channel for “teachertubetutorials”.   Not only do I identify myself at the beginning of the video, but if you’ve heard me speak, you will know from the accent that the voice is clearly mine.  Why was I surprised?  To the best of my knowledge, TeacherTube made no effort to notify me that they were moving my video to their YouTube Channel, nor did they bother to give me any credit in the description of the video or at the very least, a link back to my original upload on TeacherTube.

Now I will be the first to tell you I was wrong to not read the Terms of Use/Service more closely when I registered the account a few years ago, but in researching that information this evening, I am more than a bit disturbed by the liberal use TeacherTube claims in using YOUR content that you are uploading to your TeacherTube account; in section 5b, “User Submissions”, TeacherTube says:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting the User Submissions to TeacherTube, you hereby grant TeacherTube 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 TeacherTube Website and TeacherTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the TeacherTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

I take full responsibility for not reading this section of the Terms of Use/Service more closely, and after seeing this information, I will be deleting all content and my account with TeacherTube as soon as possible because I do not agree to these terms and do not want any of my future content appearing somewhere without my knowledge or explicit permission.  I am sharing this information with you in this space as a reminder of how important it is we all read those terms of service very carefully, particularly if you are someone creating original content and want to retain control over where it appears and to make sure you receive credit for your original works.

I hope TeacherTube will rethink these Terms of Use/Service because for many educators, this channel is the only video sharing space educators can use for their students since YouTube, Vimeo, SchoolTube, and other video sharing sites are often blocked.    Quite frankly, I have never been a fan since it normally takes at least a day to get an upload approved and viewable, and there are limits on the size of the videos that can be uploaded.  In addition,  the quality of the video often seems compromised to me on TeacherTube compared to my uploads on YouTube.  However, because YouTube is still blocked for students in my district, I have used it to embed tutorial videos for students in the past to put on my LibGuides pages.

If I am misreading the Terms of Use/Service, I gladly welcome any clarification, but at the end of the day, this experience has soured me from ever using TeacherTube again.  Although they are within their rights to use my video on their YouTube channel according to the Terms of Use/Service, I am beyond disappointed that they are not modeling ethical digital citizenship by at least linking  back to the original video and providing some type of attribution.  In the meantime, I chalk this up as a valuable lesson learned that I will long remember and will be re-evaluating the terms of use/service for many of my cloud computing tools I use while I am off for the winter holidays  later this month.

9 thoughts on “The Importance of Fine Print and TeacherTube

  1. First off, I’ll admit I’m biased (I work for SchoolTube). Having said that, most online services have a clause similar to that in their ToS (I know both SchoolTube & YouTube do). However, the difference is what the company chooses to DO with that clause. At SchoolTube, we always seek permission from the content owner before using the work outside the site, and I’m sure YouTube does the same.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re not right to be angry (I certainly would be), however be sure to evaluate more than just the terms of a particular site – their standing and business practices are (at least in my opinion) considerably more important than what the legal terms say they can do – before making a judgment.


    1. You stated “their standing and business practices are (at least in my opinion) considerably more important than what the legal terms say they can do – before making a judgment”—TeacherTube is very respected, yet they obviously make liberal use of their 5b terms of use policy. I have a hard time respecting a company that takes my original works and uses them at will without the courtesy of any notification or attribution, period.


  2. Mike,

    I agree that sites should be evaluated on their merits, but there’s no excuse for not citing sources. That’s what we’re trying to teach our students, and that’s what we expect to find in the “real world.”


  3. Oh my! This is quite disturbing news about a site with “teacher” in the name. We and the sites we use to post our content need to model ethical behavior for our students. YouTube is also blocked in my district, and I have found SchoolTube far more user friendly and quicker to upload videos than TeacherTube. I will check to see if I still have anything there and delete it asap.


  4. Thanks for the heads up sbout this. I’m lucky, we don’t block YouTube so that is my preferred upload space. I have uploaded to TeacherTube when I had a 16min video and needed to have it loaded as a single upload. I would be reviewing my use of the site too in light of your experience. It surprises me that a site welcoming teacher use doesn’t hold fast to the principles we are trying to uphold in our teaching.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s