social media how toDo you use video in your marketing?

Want to make sure your copyright is protected?

There are simple steps you can take to brand your videos so you’re protected if people upload them to Facebook as their own.

In this article you’ll discover how to protect your video content from freebooting on Facebook.

what marketers need to know about facebook freebooting

Discover what marketers need to know about Facebook freebooting.

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What Is Freebooting?

Freebooting (also known as video piracy) is the act of downloading someone else’s copyrighted video (usually from YouTube) and uploading it to Facebook as your own. You need to protect your content and make sure you don’t unknowingly propagate the work of pirates.

Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart explains that freebooting “is not the same as sharing or linking or embedding [online media] from its original source. Freebooting means downloading it without permission from the creator or copyright holder and redistributing it for your own use, often for your own monetary gain. When it comes to video piracy in 2015, Facebook is ground zero.”

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Of the videos on Facebook, 72.5% are pirated. “According to a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, of the 1,000 most popular Facebook videos of Q1 2015, 725 were stolen reuploads,” says Hank Green. “Just these 725 ‘freebooted’ videos were responsible for around 17 BILLION views last quarter.”

A recent trend I’m seeing on Facebook is scraped YouTube videos that have been lightly edited and compiled into a montage with large captions or subtitles on the video itself. Given that Facebook has the Autoplay feature on both desktop and mobile, users are more likely to feel drawn in to watch a video and click/tap for the audio if they read the caption.

scraped videos from youtube on facebook

This Facebook page’s videos, scraped from YouTube, have added captions and subtitles to entice viewers.

Freebooting hurts people who work hard to create their video identity. For instance, if you’re monetizing your YouTube channel, you’ll miss out on ad revenues if someone is scraping and reusing your videos. Facebook is just starting to dig into revenue sharing for their ads, but it’s only available to a select few advertisers so far.

Granted, if there’s a call to action or watermark on an illegally uploaded video, it could potentially help increase the visibility of the original creator. But still…

Here’s how to protect your content, deal with piracy when it happens and avoid sharing pirated videos.

#1: Understand Facebook and YouTube Video Piracy Policies

YouTube is stringent with their copyright links, so they’ll take infringed content down immediately if a complaint is filed.

Unlike YouTube, Facebook won’t automatically take down pirated content. Facebook is clearly on a mission to ramp up their own video consumption. Native Facebook video posts have the most organic reach, which is probably what has spawned this trend among users.

Under pressure to do something about freebooting, Facebook came up with video matching technology to make life a lot harder for pirates. It lets the creator know when a duplicate video is being shared on Facebook.

“Videos uploaded to Facebook are run through the Audible Magic system, which uses audio fingerprinting technology to help identify and prevent unauthorized videos from making their way onto the platform,” Facebook states.

#2: Report Freebooted Videos

Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day created the following video (which you can share on Facebook) to simplify what freebooting is and the impact it has for content creators. He talks about a German DJ who created a YouTube video that got over 5 million views in four years. A verified Facebook page then downloaded the video from YouTube, uploaded it as a native Facebook video and got 5 million views in four days.

Destin shares three tips for what to do when you come across freebooted videos anywhere on the Internet. He says to capture the freebooted content (with a screenshot or video screen capture), comment (state that it’s stolen and direct people back to the original video and creator) and contact the original creator of the video content.

If you find someone has stolen your content or a video from someone you know, here’s what to do. Go to the top right of any Facebook post on desktop, then click the gray down-pointing arrow. Then choose I Don’t Like This Post from the drop-down menu.

reporting freebooted video

Report freebooted video by clicking the grey arrow on any Facebook post.

In the pop-up that appears, select the I Think It Shouldn’t Be on Facebook option. You’ll then be able to state the issue, and whether it’s your content or someone else’s.

reporting freebooted video

Choose a reason for reporting the content. You will also be able to describe the issue before you submit.

To report a video on mobile, the process is very similar. Go to the top right of any post containing a video or the video player itself, tap the little down-pointing arrow. Then select Report This Post from the menu that appears. On the next screen, tap the I Think It Shouldn’t Be on Facebook option. Select Something Else on the following screen, and if it’s your content, let Facebook know.

Directly report infringements of your copyright on Facebook here.

#3: Protect Your Video Content

The best way to protect your video content is branding. Put a watermark or lower third throughout the video. That way if the video gets scraped, people will still know it’s from you.

watermarked freebooted video

This freebooted Facebook video clip, scraped from YouTube, has a watermark from the original owner.

Another way to protect your content is to upload it to multiple platforms. Whether it’s a blab, Meerkat, Periscope, Google hangout or original video, post your (branded) content simultaneously to Facebook as a native video and to YouTube.

Also, when you create the description on YouTube, include a link to where the video is posted on Facebook so anyone who wants to share it on Facebook can use your original link.

youtube video description

On your YouTube description, include links to where Facebook users can find and share the video on Facebook.

#4: Use Content From Other Sources Safely

Here are some ways to safely use content from other sources in your social media efforts.

Secure Permission

Make sure that any video you upload to Facebook is either your own original content or you have permission from the copyright owner to use it.

If you were interviewed by someone and want to upload his or her content as native Facebook video, just ask. As long as you have permission, and include links back to the original website, it should be mutually beneficial.

For example, at an event in Dallas I did an impromptu interview with Jaeny Baik (an on-camera coach and video marketing specialist). Jaeny then uploaded the iPhone video of the interview to YouTube.

I reached out and asked Jaeny if she would be willing to let me have the original HD file to upload to my Facebook page to increase the likelihood of getting more reach, views and visibility for both of us. When I uploaded it, I included links to her Facebook page and website.

Facebook LIVE – Game Changer!Meet my lovely friend Jaeny Baik Media!! Here’s a fun wee video interview we did at the recent eWomenNetwork event in Dallas, TX on the day that the awesome, game-changing Facebook LIVE feature launched!!!

Jaeny is an online video marketing specialist and on-camera coach, with 10 years’ experience as a CBC News TV host and journalist. (And fellow Canadian!)

One of the things I love about Jaeny’s approach is to “Just. Do. It.!!” 🙂 No need to wait til you have a fancy studio all set up, with the exact right high-end equipment, and then do tons of editing, etc. Whilst that type of video certainly has its place, for most folks, just use your camera phone, point and capture! Voila.

Btw, in this video, Jaeny is holding her right arm out fully extended, and uses her left hand as a ‘tripod’ under her elbow to minimize any shake in the video! 🙂

Also, notice the nice and tight framing… if you do this type of live video interview with a guest, you may need to sit “uncomfortably” close to the other person…. but the end result is so much better. It doesn’t look too close on camera. We’re also not even using a fancy mic… being this close to the camera, the sound works just fine! And, see how Jaeny moves the frame to me whilst I’m talking. You can tell her experience with television! Nice.

Oh, one other thing with an impromptu video interview like this; make sure to ask your guest to look IN to the camera lens. It’s sooooo tempting to look at yourself while the recording is on. Ha!!!

Find out more about Jaeny and get a free gift at

P.S. I asked Jaeny if she would kindly send me the HD version of the video from her iPhone so I could upload and share with my peeps! Yay, thank you, Jaeny!!

#FacebookVideo #FacebookLive #VideoMarketing

Posted by Mari Smith on Monday, August 24, 2015

This turned out to be a win-win scenario. My upload of the video has received more than 4,000 views, as well as numerous likes and comments.

Use Royalty-Free Images and Music

Make sure any video images and clips (which you can buy from iStockphoto, for example) are royalty-free.

This counts for music, too. There are a few apps that allow you to add music tracks. You can use up to 15 seconds before infringing on the copyright.

For instance, Flipagram allows you to create photo montages and video clips, and add your own music. When I uploaded a 30-second video to Facebook, I got a warning that I was violating copyright. All of the photos were my own, so I assumed the warning was regarding the 30 seconds of music from my own iTunes collection. However, using 15 seconds of the music for the video I uploaded to Instagram was okay.

freebooted video copyright infringement notice

Beware not to infringe on music copyright as well. Instagram allowed me to use 15 seconds of music in a video montage, but 30 seconds was too long.

Remember also to be mindful of your backgrounds. If you shoot a video and accidently capture someone’s copyrighted material, or an audio recording of a song or television program, you may be asked to take the video down.

Final Thoughts

With Facebook native video, keep this motto in mind: When in doubt, don’t. Only upload videos that are yours or for which you have permission from the copyright owner.

Remember, too, that the share button is there for a reason. If you really want to share someone’s video, make sure it’s legit and then use the share link.

No one wants to have material stolen. Safeguard the material of others and brand your own so you’re protected in case someone starts freebooting your content.

What do you think? Have you had trouble with freebooting? What precautions do you take to keep your material safe from infringement? Please share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.

what marketers need to know about facebook freebooting

Find out what marketers need to know about Facebook Freebooting.

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  • Great post!

    The pages I manage have not had trouble with freebooting. I add Notes to videos that I upload to YouTube. But this may not prevent someone from scraping them. I’m not sure if you can put a watermark on a video, can you?

    P.S. On anther Facebook note…Pun intended. It would be nice if the social network would allow you to post and then disable comments, like on YouTube. This can be another way to curb internet trolls. 🙂

  • Eileen Doyon

    Good to know! Thank you for info!

  • Hi Amandah — love the spelling of your name. Absolutely, you can put a watermark on videos!!

    Really excellent point about the disabling of comments!! After a certain period, bona fide comments tend to subside anyway. Hmm!

  • Thank you!

    Great. I’ll start putting a watermark on videos.

    I hope Facebook gives pages the option to disable comments. It may force people to think twice before commenting.

  • Tom T. Moore

    Marli, I’m in international film distribution besides being an author. Watermarks are fine, but also having a copyright notice at the front or end of the video should be considered. It can be something simple such as “copyright 2015 Tom T. Moore” or the name of your company.

  • Thanks Mari! I just had a guy who does paper mache who was getting hundreds of thousands of views talk about how this happened to him on Facebook. It is sad, because people like this are struggling with their art in the first place, and to have someone else make a lot of money from it is unbelievable. I am going to share this post with him. Hope all is well by the way. Been a LONG time. 🙂

  • Excellent tips, Mari. Another thing to remember is that if you have identifiable people in your videos, something that often happens at events, you had better get written releases from them before distributing the videos they are in, especially if you are distributing the video footage over the Internet or including it in productions you are selling or using to promote yourself.

  • Thank you so much Mari for your very informative post. I think I need to adjust myself with the freebooting changes in Facebook today. Thanks for keeping us updated on social media changes.

  • treb072410

    I really loved the post Mari! It is very helpful and informative! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ilupeju Hilloupayjou Adebayo

    I just started playing around with Facebook native videos, and have only used a video without asking for permission. Now that I understand the rules, I will avoid using other people’s video without permission and be sure to watermark mine. Thanks for this article.

  • Really good point, Tom! Thanks for your input!!

  • Hi @hubzeceo:disqus – ya, lonnnng time, my friend. Great to see you here. Wowzers, sad to hear about your friend and I do agree. Hopefully, Facebook will continue to work on the matching technology and also be fair about the ad rev-share. The 55% will actually be split between adjacent video content ‘owners’ :p

  • Wow, you know, that is another really valid point, Barb!! Thanks for your input. It makes sense when media outlets always take their own photos, for instance. I was just in a feature for the MN Star Tribune and they sent a photographer out to to meet me (at an event in Minneapolis). Then it’s their photo. This whole online digital copyright is a growing headache for so many… probably including IP attorneys, too!!

  • My pleasure, Ethel! Glad to see you here and good to know you got value from the article.

  • My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Great job! It’s really a matter of helping folks understand not only the actual copyright laws but also just plain online etiquette, right?! 🙂

  • l just got my second pay-check of 5395,75 by workin<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;only few h on my Iaptop__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code> past 5 days. l just got my second pay-check of 5395,75 by workin<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;only few h on my Iaptop__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code> past 5 days.My friend with 3 kids at home, made over $10k her 1st month. It’s great makin’ this much money” when other people have to work for so much Iess. Go 2 my profiIe’ site-link to see what I do…..rdgfg

  • Mad Marketer

    Hi Mari. I have attended a few workshops and twice they’ve said that to use someone else’s video, all you need to do is change 25% of the content and you can claim it as yours? Doesn’t sound right to me. What’s your opinion?

  • Rivka A

    Does anyone have an idea for just creating a video of screenshots and pictures from their website, and with music too so that it will be a video ? there is probably a really obvious answer for this but I have tried a few websites and nothing seems to make it happen. I am using windows and on a desktop so no apps etc… T.I.A

  • Ilupeju Hilloupayjou Adebayo

    Right Mari, I gave a brief talk to my team. The post is a great help.

  • My Uncle Noah just got an almost new cream Volkswagen Golf R by working parttime off of a pc online.visit their website on my<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;prof1Ie__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code>


  • treb072410

    Pleasures all mine Mari..

  • My Uncle Noah just got an almost new cream Volkswagen Golf R by working parttime off of a pc online.visit their website on my<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;prof1Ie__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code>


  • My Uncle Noah just got an almost new cream Volkswagen Golf R by working parttime off of a pc online.visit their website on my<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;prof1Ie__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code>


  • Hi there — that’s really interesting. I’m no attorney and am not certain of the various laws, but I would definitely check this out with an IP attorney. This gets into the area of fair use. Some guidelines I’ve seen online say you can reproduce 10% or less. This article is from a few years back, but is very informative:

  • Hi @rivkaa:disqus – sure thing, try an app like or Or on mobile, even Flipagram. Hope this is what you mean.

  • Pete Sabine

    Hi Mari, I uploaded my own video I created from my photo album montage that has music I added with purchased permission rights to use. I received the same Facebook warning notice when I uploaded to FB. I responded to the notice with an appeal that was accepted by Facebook and the video was restored. However , Facebook has restricted my ability to upload videos to FB . How can I get this restriction removed?

  • Just
    now l received““<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;my__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code><code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;4th paycheck of $4395 working__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code>onIy 3 h○urs<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;on my Iaptop__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code> this week. My neighbor, with twins, toddlers, is making over $10k every month. It’s so user friendly and easy to do. T○ SEE what I D0“`<code>__abENT__lt;code__abENT__gt;have a peek on my__abENT__lt;__abENT__#8260;code__abENT__gt;</code>“`Pr○FiIe………..


  • Hi @pete_sabine:disqus — ugh, that doesn’t sound good. Sheesh!! Hm, it seems there may be a specific time period to wait out. I found this for you:
    OR, another possibility — I’m assuming this is for your Facebook Page? You could make another account Admin on your Page and upload video files from that account. Ideally, this would be a trusted colleague/team member. I’m not a fan of creating a secondary personal profile to use for this purpose… in essence, it’s against Facebook’s terms. But, I do know a lot of people have ‘test’ accounts. Hope this helps some!

  • Shall I copy other comments and say it’s a great post! I should. You first explained what is the present situation, compared with youtube, and then explained how should we react and how we should protect our content. Bravo!

  • Great article Mari and I appreciate that you recognize Facebooks “ground zero” status on protecting creator. Learned a ton from this article

  • Grace Walker

    I appreciate this post. I would also ask if a video is share on facebook, and you try to share on your pages and the video is not filling the dimensions of the facebook sizing, it will not be as visually attractive to invite views. Facebook only populates videos that are uploaded from a local drive to the pages to be shown in full size. So if I share my own youtube videos on facebook, it does not populate in full it is only seen with the thumbnail. Thumbnail videos are less likely to be clicked for views. So my request is, how does on get facebook to post a full video image as opposed to a thumbnail image when shared directly from youtube or googleplus. my second question is, if I have the ability to reach a large audience and can share a video on my page, without intent for piracy or self monetizing, if, how or what should be done to gain copyright privelege.. there are so many dos and donts and not everyone is always aware of the most effective way to manipulate the proper procedures

  • Hi Grace — 1) you can’t affect how YouTube videos are shared on Facebook. It’s the default thumbnail that is shown. You can imagine with 8 billion video views per day on Facebook, the company wants to keep people on their platform and not encourage people to leave to go on YouTube. 2) i) create your own content, or ii) contact the owner of content you wish to share and seek their permission to upload directly to Facebook as a native video or ask if the content owner has already uploaded the video natively to their Page and then you can share their video.