The purpose of YouTube’s new short video watermarks is to prevent cross-posting to Instagram and TikTok.

Your YouTube shorts will all now have a watermark when they are reposted to Instagram.

It’s not unusual to scroll through your social media feed and see TikToks that have been cross-posted to Instagram as Reels (before everything eventually ends up on YouTube). The creator’s work may have already been viewed on the original platform, but most people don’t appear to mind the recurrence. The situation with developers is different, and there have already been initiatives to watermark movies in order to prevent cross-posting. YouTube has not previously added a watermark on Shorts videos, in contrast to TikTok, however this is now changing.

YouTube says that the watermark will be added to Shorts creators download from their accounts before sharing it to other platforms in a support post outlining the platform changes (via TechCrunch). On the desktop, the change has already gone live, and in the coming months, it will also be visible to mobile users.

In addition to others, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have had difficulty curating unique short-form video content. This is largely because producers who make films for one platform want to reach as many viewers as possible, which requires posting on several platforms to increase engagement. It makes a lot more sense to edit your footage only once and then re-upload it than to start again on each.

Platforms like TikTok have a well-designed watermark system to deter people from doing just that and direct viewers back to the original source of their favourite content. This recognisable logo moves about, making it difficult to clip and delete. Additionally, it displays the creator’s handle on the site, making it simple for viewers to locate the original TikTok video if it is downloaded and shared. A watermark for unique Shorts content could accomplish a same goal.

Working around the watermarks is also straightforward enough, if not a little more difficult, unless you, as a creator, prefer the video editing tools on a certain platform. You could always use third-party video editors like Adobe After Effects or LumaFusion and export the same movie to each social networking platform independently. You wouldn’t be cross-posting with watermarks if you did it that way.

However, not everyone will be able to use our workaround, and we’re confident that many creators will continue to cross-post their short-form video material, watermarks and all.