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Old February 2nd, 2008, 10:29 PM   #1
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Using YouTube videos

Here's another question begging a "talk to a lawyer" answer, but for the sake of argument....

Assuming the video isn't of something that was already copyrighted and was illegal for them to put on there in the first place (like parts of a sitcom, NFL game, movies, etc.), would it be legal to use someone's Youtube video, or segments of it, in part of a another film?

More specifically, as an example, say I'm doing a documentary on irresponsible driving, and it's a 60 min. program. During the program, would it be legal to use some guy's video of him hot-shot racing his Corvette at 130 MPH down I-5, weaving in and out of traffic?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.....:::EXAMPLE DOCUMENTARY:::.....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
COMMENTATOR: "....Some have even made light of their dangerous practices and proudly displayed their reckless and careless driving on Youtube for the world to see. One such video posted on Youtube by someone using the name "CorvetteCrazy" shot the following video while on Interstate 5 in Southern California weaving recklessly during early morning traffic at over 130 MPH! Watch..."

CORVETTE VIDEO PLAYS IN FULL FOR 2:30 mins.

COMMENTATOR: "The driver was clearly out of control at times, especially when he almost nicked the school bus, forcing the driver to slam on the breaks and all the kids to pile up in the front two seats. Did you see this part? Let's look at it again, and pay careful attention to the kid in the green jacket and his power drink bottle...."

CORVETTE VIDEO PLAYS min. 1:33-1:45 (0:12 seconds)

VIDEO PAUSES/FREEZES, Arrows point to drink bottle flying out the window, audio commentary of the frozen video.

COMMENTATOR: "This kid's power drink bottle came within inches of hitting the motorcyclist on the left.........."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.......::::EXAMPLE END::::.......
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyway, sorry for it being so long, but I wanted to set the example scene. Are Youtube (and similar sites) videos covered under copyright? Or does the fact that they put them up for the world to see somehow make them public domain (assuming they have the rights to the videos themselves in the first place).

Thanks!
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 10:49 PM   #2
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BTW, I found this at http://www.youtube.com/t/terms

I will just post one section of it:

"C. ... You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. ..."

So am I to understand this meaning that I can "reproduce" their video however I want? What does "...as permitted through the functionality of the Website..." mean? That for the purposes of my documentaries, I would have to have a video of the YouTube webpage itself playing the video (i.e. what everyone sees when they watch a YouTube video through their browser), or can I just import a fullscreen version of the clip directly into my NLE and later directly to TV or DVD?
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 12:52 AM   #3
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Why don't you ask the creator for permission? Hell, he may even send you a much higher quality version than you can get on YouTube. His little racing clip is every bit as copyrighted as a clip of the Super Bowl or Miami Vice.

I mean, there is the fair use argument, but why not just ask him out of courtesy and eliminate the possibility of any trouble that can come your way? It can't hurt, and if he says no, ask someone else. There's thousands of street racing clips on YouTube.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 02:20 AM   #4
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Generally speaking the answer is no, you do not have any right to use any video on youtube or anywhere else without permission. The creator of the video automatically owns all copyrights associated with it, even if its just a home video, and you have no right to use anyone elses video without permission.

That is unless it falls under "fair use" provisions of copyright law. And since your doing a documentary, and are using the video for purpose of commentary a very strong fair use argument could be made. Unfortunately you don't get to make the fair use argument in advance and see if it works- instead you have to use the video, and if you get sued, convince the judge that you were indeed within the realm of fair use and hope the judge agrees with you.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 04:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
Here's another question begging a "talk to a lawyer" answer, but for the sake of argument....

Assuming the video isn't of something that was already copyrighted and was illegal for them to put on there in the first place (like parts of a sitcom, NFL game, movies, etc.), would it be legal to use someone's Youtube video, or segments of it, in part of a another film?

...!
Every video you see there or anywhere else IS already copyrighted and someone owns it. According to law, a copyright exists automatically the moment a copyrightable work is fixed into a tangible form. It's something that automatically happens as soon as the work is created, in other words, and doesn't require any application or registration process to be completed. So unless they've sold or otherwise transferred the rights to someone else, whoever created and posted the video you're watching owns a copyright to it that prevents you from using it without permission even if they've done nothing explicitly to register their copyright.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:39 AM   #6
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It's a little confusing. The T's and C's say "No you can't without permission" in section 5.A and "Yes you can" in section 6.C.

I would say ask the owner for permission then you've covered yourself.

I liked that 6.C starts "For clarity...."
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
"C. ... You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. ..."
I think this clause is to allow others to directly embed YouTube Videos in blogs,etc. by copying the player code or link provided at the end of the video -- those are functions provided by the Website. It certainly could be said more clearly, though.

-Terence
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Old February 4th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #8
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One thing I've noticed a lot on CNN or Fox News, etc., is that when they talk about some Youtube video, they often-time play it, but not as a direct feed into the broadcast, but as a camera-shot of a computer screen that has the Youtube video playing.

Is there a reason for that? Is that "fair use?"
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chris Harris View Post
There's thousands of street racing clips on YouTube.
Yeah, you're right there. I just threw that out there as a complete off-the-wall example. I'm not even doing documentaries like that... It was more for an example.

The YouTube videos I might want to use would be much more specific and likely not readily available from other sources.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chris Harris View Post
Why don't you ask the creator for permission? Hell, he may even send you a much higher quality version than you can get on YouTube. His little racing clip is every bit as copyrighted as a clip of the Super Bowl or Miami Vice.
This might be slightly off topic, but I'm sure there's an intrinsic danger there of the "uploader" of the video possibly not being the copyright holder and himself infringing on the copyright of someone else.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 09:24 PM   #11
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Here's a perfect example of what I would like to do. How can CBS do it if its illegal or infringement?

http://cbs5.com/local/Internet.gang.....2.648038.html (Play the video on the page)
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Old February 7th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #12
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CBS is reporting news for broacast, and YouTube is an important part of that story.

That is different from your example; you are talking about borrowing or re-purposing the material.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 08:15 PM   #13
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I'm always interested by this sort of question but the answer is really quite simple;

If it isn't your video and you don't have permission to use it then you can't legally use it. If you go to court only the lawyers win.
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