Embedding Videos in Item Previews

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

Recently we’ve been covering a range of issues around item previews and our content policies. One question that has been asked a number of times is whether authors are allowed to embed videos from services like YouTube in their item previews.

Before we get to the answer, it’s good to remember that these policies apply even for externally hosted previews (‘live’ or ‘demo’ previews), because of their connection to items being sold here, and because we want items associated with our marketplaces to respect others’ intellectual property.

The other posts in this series are:

I can embed videos?  Cool.  Do I need to consider anything else?

More on where to source embedded videos follows. But first, it’s important to keep in mind that although a video sharing site might technically allow you to embed a video elsewhere, like in your site or item preview, you still need to consider the content of the video you’ve chosen.

Is the content appropriate for use in your item preview? Just like you would for a still image, consider whether the video content contains trade marks, objects that might be under copyright, and identifiable people. All these things might not have been cleared or released for your particular use by way of an embed in an item preview.

If you want ‘commercial movie quality’ video for use in an item preview, many excerpts or trailer on sites like YouTube might themselves be under copyright.


As the biggest video service on the block, YouTube is the prime candidate for embedding. And happily this is technically acceptable as YouTube encourages its videos to be embedded widely online (keeping in mind the content considerations I’ve just discussed).  YouTube has fairly clear terms prohibited commercial usage in the form of attaching advertising to its content or charging to view its content, but allows more general commercial usage.

Keep in mind that some people uploading to YouTube actually choose an option that makes their particular video un-embeddable (it removes the ’embed’ option). Obviously those videos should not be manually embedded somehow.

You can use the standard YouTube embeddable player, or you can use YouTube’s API and their chromeless player to make a custom skin.


While not nearly as large as YouTube, Vimeo is fairly popular in the creative/tech niches. Unfortunately Vimeo’s terms state that its service is made available only for “your own personal, non-commercial purposes”.

It’s a little confusing as their terms have only the barest references to embedding. In any case, since an item preview is best considered a commercial use, authors are advised not to use Vimeo video embeds.

Hopefully Vimeo will clarify things at some point, especially now that their commercial PRO service is out.

Other Services

Got another favourite video sharing site? Check their terms and conditions so see whether embedding elsewhere is allowed, and if so whether use for commercial purposes is allowed.