“If you’re a creator who downloads your Shorts from YouTube Studio to share across other platforms,” the company says(Opens in a new window), “you’ll now find a watermark added to your downloaded content.”
The announcement was made a few days after The Verge reported(Opens in a new window) that Instagram was removing audio from Reels that people downloaded before posting on the platform. This initially seemed like a way to prevent the videos from being shared elsewhere, but it turned out to be a bug(Opens in a new window).
That isn’t 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 on 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 publish content on multiple platforms. Shorts, TikTok, and Reels are all designed around short videos intended for viewing on smartphones. Aside from which app you launch to watch these videos, the main difference lies in the editing tools on each service.
Watermarking downloaded Shorts may want to inspire creators to preserve the content they are making with YouTube Studio on YouTube itself. And if they do not, well, perhaps the watermark could be enough to persuade TikTok and Instagram users to observe Shorts through YouTube as an alternative.
YouTube says that watermarks on downloaded Shorts “is rolling out over the next few weeks on desktop” and that it plans “to expand to mobile over the coming months.”