YouTube topped all records today by tallying up 4 million Creative Commons-licensed videos in its trove -- more than any other video hosting company in the world.
This means that users have literally millions of choices for snipping bits of footage, adding scenes, and building onto videos they're making. Everything in this collection comes branded with the Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning users don't have to get explicit permission to use the content from the creators.
YouTube launched its Creative Commons video library last year and since then it said its users have added in "40 years' worth of video." Much of the content is from well-known media distributors, such as C-SPAN, Voice of America, and Al Jazeera.
Here's what Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly wrote on YouTube's blog today:
Do you need a professional opening for your San Francisco vacation video? Perhaps some gorgeous footage of the moon for your science project? How about a squirrel eating a walnut to accompany your hot new dubstep track? All of this and more is available to inspire and add to your unique creation. Thanks to CC BY, it's easy to borrow footage from other people's videos and insert it into your own, because the license grants you the specific permissions to do so as long as you give credit to the original creator.
You can pass on the creative spirit when you publish your video, by choosing the option to license it under CC BY so that others can reuse and remix your footage with the YouTube Video Editor. This is where the fun really starts. Imagine seeing your footage used by a student in Mumbai, a filmmaker in Mexico City, or a music video director in Detroit. By letting other people play with your videos, you let them into a global sandbox, kicking off a worldwide team of collaborators. We all yearn to create and contribute - now you can join the fun, and open the door to collective imagination.
Creative Commons licensing has been available for some time on a growing number of video- and photo-sharing sites. Yahoo's Flickr has the record for the most Creative Commons-licensed photos, andin 2010.