I love to learn math by watching videos. So I eventually end up with a lot of questions and thoughts based on the topics discussed in those videos.

So if I were to ask these questions on SE, one option would be just to provide a link to the video in the question. But I know that most users (including myself) won't go through a 30 minute video to answer a question.

So the other option is to describe the contents of the video in short. But sometimes the visualisations shown in a video are simply irreplaceable (eg. videos by 3Blue1Brown) and cannot be replicated.

Question: Is it okay for screenshots from YouTube videos be used references in your question?

I am asking this because the screenshots are technically the channel's content. So will it be 'okay' to use their content in a question (by providing respective links of the video too of course)? Will it violate this website's or YouTube's policies?

  • $\begingroup$ Mentions of YouTube video presentations often give the point in time where a relevant event occurs. Providing a link to the YouTube video might be important context for your Question, but you still need to ask it, providing a reasonably self-contained statement of the problem you want help with. After all, for a Reader just looking at a YouTube video (or other presentation) will not typically suggest what you have in mind to get help with. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ See also: law.stackexchange.com/q/28435 $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 2:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As a side note: Linking directly to a specific point in time of a YouTube video. (From Web Applications site.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2020 at 4:03

1 Answer 1


From YouTube's ToS:

You are not allowed to access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders.

So, yes, screenshots would violate YouTube's policies. Youtube or the content creator could enforce their copyright by sending a takedown notice. While it is arguable a screenshot in a question falls rather easily under fair use, I am pretty sure StackOverflow Inc. doesn't want any beef with YouTube over some random math question, and thus would remove the screenshot anyway.

  • $\begingroup$ However, it would be almost impossible to get inforced what you saying. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2020 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Theoneandonly: Because of the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it is normal for companies like StackOverflow to be prompt in responding to take-down notices. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ Is the flip side to "SE would take it down quickly" not that YouTube are unlikely to raise such a flag? $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Enabling embedding of YouTube videos would eliminate this problem. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 15:05

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