YouTube announced Creative Commons licensing options for videos hosted on the site today, making it much easier to use and share videos with legal attribution.

Creative Commons on YouTube will allow users to splice clips or scenes from other videos through the YouTube Video Editor. Copyright and Creative Commons can be a tricky area as there are several different Creative Commons options. YouTube tries to make it easy by using only one -- CC BY 3.0 -- that permits users to share and adapt content for commercial use provided that attribution is given to the original creator.

The option will be an addition to the normal standard YouTube license, which restricts users to fair use, fair dealing and getting permission to use content from the original copyright holder. The line of fair use and fair dealing can be blurry given the nature of the content being used, how much of it is used and whether or not the content is significantly changed to alter the meaning of the original work.

YouTube joins photo-sharing sites like Flickr that have Creative Commons options included with every upload that a user makes. The use of Creative Commons and fair use photos is one of the reasons that Flickr became one of the de facto places to share photos on the Web and helps the site sustain a vibrant community.

Creative Commons source attribution will be seen on the right under the video player in YouTube.

The use-case for Creative Commons on YouTube means that an extremely wide-variety of videos and clips will become available to users in creating derivative works or mash ups. As YouTube says in a blog post announcing the Creative Commons; "Maybe you were creating your own music video and needed an aerial video of Los Angeles at night to spice it up. Unless you had a helicopter, a pretty powerful camera and some fierce editing skills, this would have been a big challenge."