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I've been working on a music web application that so far always has a prominently displayed YouTube video that is the source of the music.

Is there anything in the terms of service for YouTube that say I'm not allowed to hide the player? I'd still let the user control everything via the JavaScript api, and I'd hide it with something like display: none; or something. Is that illegal?

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I'm not a lawyer but I think "points 8/9/14 section II - Prohibitions" of YouTube TOS suggest you are violating them.

8.separate, isolate, or modify the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API;

9.promote separately the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API;

14.use a video player smaller than the minimum video player size set forth in the YouTube API documentation and specifications.

I think it makes also sense, some videos shows advertises, so it makes sense their TOS prohibits to hide the video.

  • Not to mention it's hugely inefficient to both stream and render a video just for the audio component. It's the same as having the browser download a 1024x1024 image just for it to be shown as a 32x32 icon. – Lèse majesté Feb 28 '13 at 10:12
  • And yet they let you go down to 200x200 FWIW... – rogerdpack Jul 28 '17 at 23:04
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I haven't pored over their terms of service to see if it would violate them, but I know that it has been done in the past. Here is a site that describes how to modify their embed code to only show the audio controls: http://rcdewebmasters.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/embed-audio-only-youtube-video/ To make it happen you just need to set the height of the iframe to 24 pixels and add parameters to make sure the controls always show up.

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