YouTube will start adding watermarks to downloaded shorts.
“If you’re a creator downloading your YouTube Studio Shorts to share on other platforms,” the company says, “you’ll now find a watermark added to your downloaded content.”
The announcement came a few days after The Verge reported that Instagram was removing audio from Reels that people downloaded before posting on the platform. Initially, this seemed like a way to prevent videos from being shared elsewhere, but it turned out to be a bug.
That is not the case here. YouTube says it’s adding the watermark “so your viewers can see that the content you’re sharing across platforms can be found in YouTube Shorts,” which is a thinly veiled way of saying it’s sick of people using its tools. to make videos for TikTok and Instagram.
It makes sense for creators to post content across multiple platforms. Shorts, TikTok, and Reels were designed around short videos meant to be viewed on a smartphone. The main difference, other than which app people launch to watch these videos, lies in the editing tools of each service.
Watermarking downloaded shorts could encourage creators to keep the content they’re creating with YouTube Studio on YouTube. And if they don’t, well, maybe the watermark is enough to convince TikTok and Instagram users to watch Shorts through YouTube.
YouTube says that watermarking on downloaded shorts “will be rolling out in the coming weeks on desktop” and that it plans to “expand to mobile devices in the coming months.”