YouTube Shorts are getting watermarks to stop you ripping them for TikTok and Instagram

Youtube Shorts
(Image credit: Google)

YouTube is going to start adding a watermark to YouTube Shorts to make sure that everyone knows where the videos came from, even when they have been posted to other apps like TikTok and Instagram.

The move, first reported by TechCrunch, comes after a support thread outed plans to add a watermark to downloaded content. If you aren't seeing the watermark just yet, hang fire — Google says that it will take a few weeks to roll out on desktop and that it will also be brought to mobile "over the coming months.

Marked up

To be clear, YouTube isn't specifically saying that people shouldn't share content on other apps, but it does say that it wants everyone to know where that content originated.

"If you’re a creator who downloads your Shorts from YouTube Studio to share across other platforms, you’ll now find a watermark added to your downloaded content," the support document says. "We’ve added a watermark to the Shorts you download so your viewers can see that the content you’re sharing across platforms can be found on YouTube Shorts. This is rolling out over the next few weeks on desktop, and we plan to expand to mobile over the coming months."

YouTube isn't alone in adding a watermark to videos created using its tools, however. TikTok has done something similar for years which is why YouTube Shorts and Instagram are full of videos that have the famous TikTok logo on them somewhere. In the future, we're likely to see the YouTube logo pop up more and more, too.

While this will likely mainly impact people ripping other people's content and posting it as their own, those who originally created the videos might need to consider using third-party apps in the future. Whereas many videos are now recorded using tools built into social networking apps, the only way to avoid the watermark is to create videos elsewhere and upload them individually.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.