Digital Video Articles, Tutorials, Guides & Q & A Since 2007

Video Production, Video Resources, YouTube Video

Where Can You Get Copyright-Free Videos to Upload on YouTube without Paying a Cent?

Last updated on February 27th, 2024 at 11:10 am

Don’t upload copyrighted videos to YouTube.

What Happens if You Post a Copyrighted Video on YouTube?

YouTube’s Content ID

The copyrighted video could end up with a Content ID claim. Content ID is a video fingerprinting system used to detect unauthorized uploading of copyrighted videos already published on YouTube.

With a Content ID claim, the copyright owner may block your upload or allow it to remain there. If the video is allowed to remain, then the revenue the video earns from YouTube will go to him or her instead of you. This applies if you’re in the YouTube Partner Program.

If you aren’t familiar with Content ID, watch the video below for a quick explanation.

So, if your aim is to earn money through YouTube, it’s wise to avoid uploading copyrighted videos to YouTube.

Otherwise, you’ll have to put up with inconveniences like taking down the video or editing out the portion which infringes copyright, if it’s part of a whole video.

You should only upload videos that you’ve shot or have a usage license from the copyright owner.

If you don’t have these options, then your recourse is to use free videos without copyright for your YouTube channel.

The quickest way to get copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube is to visit a stock video footage site.

Over here, you pay for the license to use a video clip. This will ensure there will be no copyright claim after you’ve used it as part of your main video.

These stock video sites, with free videos for YouTube without copyright, have a large collection of video clips on different subjects and themes.

But then, most of them are costly. If you’re Youtuber on a tight or no budget, you would want to look at free sites that provide you with copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube.

The first thing you want to do when visiting these websites is to ensure that the videos are really copyright-free. Some websites say their videos are copyright-free. Don’t take their word for it. There could be hidden terms that may catch you off-guard later.

So, it pays to read the license terms carefully before you download and use them.

Also, you want to ensure that the copyright-free videos you want to upload to YouTube don’t come with a watermark.

To get a quick idea of what sites offer copyright-free videos and the types of usage licenses they offer, watch the video below.

Do this before you read on.

For more sites that offer completely free videos for YouTube without copyright, check out the listing below.

Wikimedia Commons

As of the time of writing, Wikimedia Commons claims that it has 135,000 videos covering subjects from nature, sports, wildlife and science videos, among others.

Videos are, however, offered in the following formats only:
WebM, Ogg Theora, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.

If you need MP4, then you would need to convert any of these formats yourself.

Wikimedia Commons - Copyright-free videos.

Here are the types of copyright-free videos you can access at Wikimedia Commons:

  • Government-produced videos: Many government agencies, like NASA, release footage under free licenses.
  • Creative Commons-licensed videos: These come with different requirements, so check the specific license (e.g., CC BY requires attribution).
  • Historical footage: Public domain films, archival materials, and newsreels may be available.
  • User-generated content: Some users upload their videos with free licenses.

License Considerations

Although Wikimedia Commons videos are copyright-free, videos have different types of licenses attached to them.

Among them are :

  • CC BY: Requires attribution in your video description.
  • CC BY-SA: Requires attribution and sharing of your video using the same license.
  • Public domain: No attribution is required, but crediting the creator is good practice.
  • Other licenses: Follow the specific requirements of each license.

The video below explains how a filmmaker made a documentary entirely out of Wikimedia video clips.

Check out the copyright-free videos on Wikimedia Commons..

Is your video project nature-based? Do you need 4K videos for it?

If so, head to Video – Library – No copyright Footage. It’s actually a YouTube Channel.

There are videos of clouds, sunsets, skies, natural forests and more. What’s more, there are drone, time-lapse and double exposure clips.

According to the information on the About page, you can’t sell, reupload as your own creation or as a standalone file any video offered here.

You can only use them as part of a main video project.

You can use them as copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube without a watermark. There are 355 videos (at the time of writing) available for that purpose.

Of course, you can’t download them directly from the YouTube channel. Check the description box for each video and you’ll find a Google Drive link to download the video.

Is attribution needed to use the video? The owner says, “It is desirable, that you mention us in your video description.”

Check out No Copyright Footage.


Many ‘free’ stock video sites offer their assets with a card up their sleeve. There’s bound to be a hidden term or other. Not Pexels.

Pexels doesn’t require you to provide attribution for videos you use from the site.

There’s a wide range of themes offered, but don’t expect anything 4K. That should be understandable because it’s a free site after all.

Videos are provided in the Full HD format which should be sufficient for a YouTube project.

Be informed that all videos are licensed under the CC0 (Creative Commons No Rights Reserved) which means you can freely reuse the video for personal or commercial projects, without crediting the copyright owner.

If you’re into time-lapse videos as well, Pexels would serve you well.

Clipstill for Cinemagraphs

Clipstill is dedicated to cinemagraphs. Not heard of the term before? They are animated series of photos that play in a loop. Cinemagraphs have the potential to catch the viewer’s eye easily and liven up a video project.

One advantage of using a cinemagraph in your video project is its small file size.

But then not all the cinemagraphs at Clipstill are free. But the free ones are worth downloading.

As long as you don’t use the cinemagraphs as part of a commercial product, you don’t have to provide attribution for the free cinemagraphs you use.

Incidentally, the first menu item on Clipstill is FREE Cinemagraphs.

Clipstill free cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are offered in the MP4 format and the free version is set at a resolution of 640 x 480.

Your email is required before you can download a free clip. Why email? To send you a receipt for purchasing a clip at $0.00.

Free cinemagraphs are offered every month. So, you would have come back often to check the latest offerings.

Check out the free cinemagraphs at Clipstill.


If you don’t mind crediting the copyright holders of the videos to use their work for free, then you can use the videos in Videvo for your YouTube projects.

Videos are created by community members. So, the quality can be a little uneven. But there are gems, if you care to look hard enough.

When you search for free videos you would have to apply filters.

Choose royalty-free under license and click on the Only free tab before making your search.

Videovo copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube without watermark

But don’t be surprised if you get videos that require you to credit the author of a video despite the filters.

This is not a pleasant experience. However, you can still get copyright-free videos to Upload on YouTube if you’re willing to spend a few minutes sifting through the video search results.

Video footage is offered in Full HD 1080p. Sorry, there’s only a limited collection of 4K videos among the 15,000 free videos offered.

Video formats offered are MP4 and some in Quicktime (MOV).

Check out Videvo.


If you’re the type who doesn’t fancy checking usage licenses of stock video footage, Pixabay would be a delight.

This is one site where all the videos are licensed under CC0. This means they are copyright-free. You don’t have to credit the creators for any video you use from the site.

This is indeed a useful site where you can grab free stock video footage with no watermark.

Among the video assets you can find on their site are motion graphics, HD footage, and 4K videos, all in the MP4 format.

Check out PIxabay to get copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube.


Over at Cover, free videos cover such diverse subjects as Nature, People, Fitness, and even Covid-19.

There are 25 popular categories altogether. Chances are you’ll find the video(s) you have in mind at Coverr.

Every time you make a search, your results get mixed up with Shutterstock videos. However, they’ll usually be outnumbered by Coverr’s free videos.

So, this shouldn’t be a concern.

Videos can be freely used for commercial and non-commercial projects. There’s no need to ask for permission. There’s also no need to offer credit or provide attribution.

Before you use these copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube, do take note of the terms.

You aren’t allowed to sell or distribute these videos. Also, you should not use trademarks, logos, or brands that are featured in the videos.

People’s images are also a no-no if they’re recognizable.

For these two categories, you would need permission.

Explore Coverr to discover copyright-free videos.


If you’re looking for free aerial drone videos which you can use as copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube, Videezy has what you need.

Video resolution ranges from Full HD to 4K.

Videos are offered for download in MP4 format.

Do take note of the license though. Most videos are free for personal and commercial use. However, if you’re using it for TV or broadcast (YouTube etc) then you must credit it to Videezy and if you’re using it over the web, there’s an HTML code you must place on your page.

A small token worth giving if you find a free premium-quality video.

Vidlery Free Animation Videos

Do you need copyright-free animation videos to spice up your explainer videos or documentary?

Head to Vidlery where you can download copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube without watermark.

Vidlery Free Animation Videos

Subjects range from working, traffic, bar, meeting and restaurant, among others.

There are about 20 plus videos (at the time of writing) you can download. Not many. But why complain when you’re getting them free?

Videos are licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) ( Public Domain Dedication) applicable worldwide.

When you click on download, you’re offered a Zip file. Unzip it and you get a folder with an MP4 and WebM files.

Vidlery Free Animation Videos Download

If you sign up with your email, you’ll get a new animation every wee.

Check out Vidlery.

So, go check out these sites to get copyright-free videos to upload on YouTube and get your video projects moving.


Videos at Mazwai are available in 4K, 1080p, and 720p resolutions. Subjects range from skyline, drone, landscape, urban, people, dusk, and so on.

At Mazwai, copyright-free stock videos are licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 and the Mazwai License.

You would be required to give attribution to the copyright owner if a video is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

A Mazwai license will allow you to freely use a video clip without the need to give the creator an attribution, even if you’re using it for a commercial project.

Also, videos with people in them should have model releases, unless it is to be used for editorial purposes.

Also, if a video clip is accompanied by audio, you must ensure you have the necessary permission or license to use it in your work.

A major drawback of the site is the lack of a search filter. It means you can’t search based on license and resolution. While you can see the resolution when you hover your mouse over a video clip, you’ll have to click on a video clip to find out what license is attached to it.

Check out Mazwai.

Avoid Copyright Issues with Premium Stock Footage

The above free resources for copyright-free videos will suit you fine if you’re working on a personal or non-profit project.

They will also be useful if you’re using them for educational purposes with a small group of ‘internal’ audience.

However, if you really want to add a professional touch and make your videos stand out, you would need to invest in premium stock footage.

There are two reasons for this.

First, as mentioned above, is quality. When you pay for something, you get quality.

As good as free stock videos are, they fall short when quality is really expected.

Most of the contributors who upload videos to these free sites don’t really showcase their best work.

Instead, they post ‘leftovers’ to promote themselves or get links back to their websites.

Also, free sites don’t have stringent quality requirements as opposed to premium stock footage sites.

Second, on free sites, you do not find videos on specific subjects. They’re more generic in nature. Even if they’re available, the range is usually limited.

Also, most of these sites offer videos with a maximum resolution of 1080p. So, if 4K is what you have in mind, you’ll be disappointed.

Despite assurance from these sites that videos are copyright-free, these sites would not assume responsibility if someone files a copyright claim for a video you have used.

So, if you don’t want to lose peace of mind later by running into copyright issues, take the safe route and use an established premium stock footage service like Shutterstock.

Also, check out the frequently asked questions below to enhance your understanding of video copyright on YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of videos are considered copyright-free?

Videos are copyright-free if the copyright owner has explicitly released them for use without restrictions, often marked as “Creative Commons” with specific usage guidelines. Additionally, videos in the public domain (works with expired copyright) are also free to use.

Can I use footage from other YouTube channels?

Generally, no. Unless the video is explicitly marked for reuse or the owner grants written permission, using footage from another channel violates copyright.

What about using short clips from movies or TV shows?

Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material for purposes like commentary, criticism, or news reporting. However, fair use is a complex legal concept with no clear-cut boundaries. It’s safer to avoid using copyrighted content without explicit permission.

How can I ensure a video is truly copyright-free?

Always check the license information provided by the source. Look for terms like “Creative Commons” and specific usage details. If unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using the footage.

What happens if I upload a video with copyrighted material?

YouTube’s automated system (Content ID) may flag your video and lead to:

  • Copyright claim: The copyright owner may claim revenue generated by your video.
  • Video block: Your video may be blocked from being viewed in certain regions or entirely removed.
  • Channel strike: Repeated copyright violations can lead to channel termination.

Can I dispute a copyright claim?

Yes, you can dispute a claim if you believe it’s a mistake or falls under fair use. However, the burden of proof lies with you to demonstrate your claim.

What are some alternatives to using existing video footage?

  • Create your own videos: This gives you complete control over the content and avoids copyright issues.
  • Use animation or motion graphics: Create unique visuals without relying on pre-existing footage.
  • Focus on commentary or narration: Use your voice and screen recordings to deliver your message.

What are some additional tips for using copyright-free videos?

  • Always credit the source: Even if the video is free to use, it’s good practice to give credit to the creator.
  • Read the license carefully: Understand the specific terms of use for each video you use.
  • Combine different sources: Create unique and engaging content by combining footage from various copyright-free sources.

Where can I learn more about copyright and fair use?

Remember, respecting copyright protects creators and ensures a healthy online content ecosystem. By understanding and following best practices, you can create engaging YouTube content without copyright concerns.

Free Video Workshop