What does Videorooter do?

Videorooter aims to map and support the video commons. It does this by making an index as many videos as possible that are in the video commons and publishing this index. In the index, there is provenance information of these videos.

We develop algorithms for video fingerprinting (uniquely identifying these videos). We intend to distinguish one video from another in a similar way a person would. Videorooter checks videos on certain features and then assigns them a unique code: a hash. This hash is unique per video, but one and the same video always get assigned the same hash. Read more about this in our blog.

These hashes are stored together with other information about the video in a whitelist. As such Videorooter can tell information about the author of the video, where it’s from, and what permissions you have to use it.

Why Videorooter?

Images and videos travel from platform to platform on the Internet. In this process the provenance information of these media files – information about, for example, the maker and the terms and conditions under which the work can be shared or reused – often gets lost. This makes it complicated to trace who is the original owner of the work. Even if extensive license information has been provided in the initial publication, there is no guarantee this stays with the video when the work is shared on third platforms. Videorooter is a first iteration to solve this issue for online video. To do be able to do so we propose the creation of shared persistent reproducible identifiers.

Read our call for persistent reproducible identifiers here.

Read our white paper about persistent reproducible identifiers here.

What videos do you store information about?

All videos on our whitelist are shared under open licenses. This means that the permission of use is open, instead of the case in which all rights are reserved.

Currently there is information about of approximately 70,000 videos in Videorooter. These videos originate from three platforms that share openly licensed videos: Wikimedia Commons, Europeana, the Internet Archive, and Open Images. The videos on these websites come from a wide variety of sources in turn: the authors themselves, imported from other websites or other sources.

Only openly licensed videos?

Yes. We strongly believe in the open ecosystem. For us, a system that registers which video is licensed under an open license and makes the license information traceable is an important way to facilitate the open ecosystem. If you find videos on Videorooter, you can be reasonably certain that they are indeed licensed in the way indicated (public domain, a Creative Commons license or similar).

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons provides legal tools to give everyone, from individual creators to large companies and institutions, a simple, standardised way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of these tools and their users creates a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

There are 6 Creative Commons licenses and a public domain mark. Together they allow for more options than only all rights reserved. The public domain mark, CC0, is a legal tool that makes it possible to waive all copyright and related rights in a given work. Everyone is free to use the work under any circumstances.

For more information, visit the license page on the Creative Commons website.

I manage a website with openly licensed videos. Is that of any use?

We’re interested in getting to know as many platforms with openly licensed videos as possible. Please get in touch with us at

Also check out our developers page and white paper to understand how you contribute.

Why is this important?

From a practical perspective, knowing who is the author of a video and under what terms and conditions it is available is important in order to understand how you may use a video, and what attribution you must provide when you do.

We believe that having this information available also places the video in the right cultural context. Knowing information about the video contributes to an understanding of the use of openly licensed videos on the web; it increases its value, and makes us relate to it in a different way. We think that if people had this information available about any video they encountered online, the need to enforce and assert copyright would also be less, and over time, we can create an ecosystem where mutual respect and common sense take precedence.

What do you mean by video commons?

Generally the digital commons is used to address all online resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community. More specifically, it encompasses all the works that are on the internet under conditions that state that everyone can use them. A way to make such a statement is by using an open license such as a Creative Commons license. You can read more about those licenses in the question What is Creative Commons?



Who funds this?

The project is funded by the Dutch foundation SIDN fund.

SIDN is the organisation that registers and manages all .nl domain names and ensures that they can be reached from anywhere in the world. SIDN founded the independent foundation SIDN fund.

SIDN Fund stands for ‘a strong Internet for all’. The fund invests in projects that work on a stronger, safer and more open Internet for everyone. It provides financial support to ideas and projects that aim to make the Internet stronger or that use the Internet in innovative ways. By doing so, SIDN fund wants to help increase the social impact of the Internet in the Netherlands.

Who runs this?

The initial work of Videorooter was provided by Kennisland and Commons Machinery, funded by the Dutch SIDN fund. Hosting is currently provided by Commons Machinery.

Can I I get in touch with you?

We’d love to hear from you! You can email us at

Also, if you have a question that is not on this list, please contact us straight away!