Why I'm Uncopyrighting All of My Videos

I recently received an email asking for permission to react to one of my YouTube videos and offer his own perspective on it. Of course, I said yes, but I was a bit confused why he even asked in the first place.

I can understand his apprehension due to how bad the copyright system is. Especially on YouTube, many creators fear for their lives, as if you say one bad thing about someone, they can take away your entire livelihood just by filing a few copyright strikes.

As you may have seen, all the content on this website is uncopyrighted. That means you can do whatever you want with the content here. You can copy it, you can redistribute it, you can react to it, you can even stick it behind a paywall if you really want to (good luck making any money from it though). Of course, I would appreciate you give me credit and leave a link back to my work, but it’s not required.

I don’t see my work as wholly original and something that I alone came up with. All of my ideas are built on top of other ideas that inspired me, either directly or indirectly.

The uncopyright also applies to the website itself. The entire website code is available on GitHub, and you can feel free to use any Hugo code or CSS that you find useful. I stole a lot of code snippets and the colors for this website, anyway, so it can barely even be called “my work”.

Besides that, I think that the current copyright system in the US is broken. Companies like Disney milk their IPs to death with them lobbying to keep copyrights for 95 years after a work is published, even though their entire business was built on the public domain. If you share copyrighted work online, big business exacts extreme punishments to make an example out of anyone who might cause billion-dollar companies to “lose profits”. Won’t anyone think of the poor megacorporations!? So I guess this is my small (ineffectual) way of “protesting” against the system.

Of course I understand the reasoning behind the idea of copyright, but the current implementation of it, at least in the US, is completely draconian. Rather than sitting on my “intellectual property” like a dragon for eons, I’d rather let it go. If only I should be so lucky that my work is valuable enough to others that they would want to copy or remix it! That would be a great honor to me, not an insult.

But after receiving this email, I realized that all of my videos on YouTube are under the standard YouTube License. Going forward, all of my videos will be under Creative Commons - Attribution, which is the most permissive license available on YouTube. Essentially, this allows you to do anything you want with my videos, but you must give credit. But like how the content on this site is uncopyrighted, I don’t particularly care if you don’t give credit.

The hard part is going back through all my old videos and changing their license. Maybe someday when I have an afternoon’s worth of spare time, but until then you can take this as permission to do whatever you want with anything I’ve made, on this website or on YouTube.