We are developing a site where users will be able to watch and download videos that they've recorded of themselves in a public event. The videos will be password protected, and will be available only to users who have paid for them at the event...

...But on the other hand, we also want users to share those videos on social media, since they will be an attractive publicity for our events. Having people log into our site with their password, download the video and then re-upload it to Youtube/Facebook will be too cumbersome, and I suspect that few users will be willing to do that. So the obvious alternative is to have one of those convenient "share" buttons, but the problem with that approach will be that:

  • The video will be physically hosted (and linked to) in our site. What happens if those videos go viral and our bandwidth cost explodes?

  • The video is password protected.

The solution I've thought of for this is:

  1. Upload the user's video to our (password-protected site) and to Youtube at the same time, as an unlisted video.

  2. The user can access our site with his password and download his video (to watch on his TV or whatever).

  3. If the users hits the "share" button, we show him the Youtube link... and we turn the video into a listed one.

This seems in line with the ideas in Using YouTube as a CDN, and there didn't seem to be any objections in that question. I'm posting this just to confirm that my idea doesn't violate any Youtube TOS, and also to see if it is a good one or there might be better alternatives.

  • 1
    Just a comment on #3 - I wouldn't have thought you'd need to (or want to) make the video listed (or public) once shared, as the user may only be sharing it amongst a select number of users. (?) It can still be shared when unlisted. Unless the user wanted to go "public" - maybe another option?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 14:53
  • Why not save a copy of the original video file on your server for downloading, but embed the YouTube video for viewing online? That'd mitigate the bandwidth issue if something goes viral. For the 'share' link, you could add a URL parameter to your own URL that would bypass the login requirement. Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 20:07
  • Thanks for your comments. Re. 1): I thought about turning the video into a listed one so that it would be easier for people to find it (free publicity, etc.); as far as I'm concerned, if the user wants to "share" it, they have no problem letting other people seeing it. As for 2): it's an interesting idea, but I don't really like having URL parameters to bypass a login. I'll think further about embedding the Youtube video, though.
    – PaulJ
    Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


I'm posting this just to confirm that my idea doesn't violate any Youtube TOS

Nope, you are good.

and also to see if it is a good one or there might be better alternatives.

The idea of using YouTube is a good one and there are only a few alternatives to protect yourself against viral bandwidth costs but all of them are paid solutions past a certain point (I'm specifically thinking of Vimeo here) and you may or may not have factored that into the project budget. I'm trying to get my head around the whole "password protected yet publicly shareable and visible" aspect though.

If the user pays to get the video, why do you need to password protect it past that point? Either the user can choose to keep it private or toggle an option to make it public and you could upload it to your YouTube channel at that time and enable the sharing buttons. If the user only wants to selectively share it with friends then that is an appropriate time to create a token-based login bypass link that can be sent by email or Twitter and just expire the token after X time to protect against abuse.


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