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Old October 1st, 2009, 03:46 PM   #1
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Legal to post other people's footage on youtube?

An employee at a local video store that was processing someone else's work took that work and gave it to someone else to publish on youtube without permission. Unethical yes, but was it legal? The imagery turned out to be controversial, but it was a public event of kids singing at a school. The people who stole and posted the footage made no money but they made a pretty serious political point. Is that legal?
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Old October 1st, 2009, 03:52 PM   #2
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I'm no lawyer, but that doesn't seem ethical or legal to me. At all.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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It's almost certainly illegal. I say, "almost certainly," because it may come under the news exception, depending on how it is presented, though I don't think that's likely. I think I know which footage you're talking about -- it was aired on the Daily Show recently. My personal feelings, only, but I hope whoever shot it sues the %^&*( out of the kid at the video store and his friend who posted it.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 04:21 PM   #4
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According to US Copyright law, "[a] work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." In other words, as soon as that person pressed "record", they owned the copyright on that recording. A work does not need to be registered to claim copyright protection.

That does not mean that they owned the copyright on the piece of work being performed (i.e. the song they were singing.)

US Copyright law does make allowances for fair use, but none of those allowances would apply to the situation you've described.

So yes, what this employee did is most likely illegal. However, since copyright is typically enforced by the owner in civil court (there are no "copyright police" to call) this will probably go no further than the guilty party receiving a reprimand from their employer.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
A work does not need to be registered to claim copyright protection.
However, registration is a pre-requisite for a law suit (unless it is a Berne Convention work created in another country) and statutory damages are not available for pre-registration infringement.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Paul Tauger View Post
but I hope whoever shot it sues the %^&*( out of the kid at the video store and his friend who posted it.
Purely an academic question - if the owner of the video did sue, how would a court/judge assign a monitary amount to damages? I assume the amount (if any) would be punitive damages, since it would be difficult to prove any actual loss of revenue to the copyright owner. Are there any similar cases that have actually gone to court?

Quote:
statutory damages are not available for pre-registration infringement.
I was not aware of that... There's a big incentive to register.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 11:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
Purely an academic question - if the owner of the video did sue, how would a court/judge assign a monitary amount to damages? I assume the amount (if any) would be punitive damages, since it would be difficult to prove any actual loss of revenue to the copyright owner. Are there any similar cases that have actually gone to court?
The plaintiff copyright can elect between actual damages or statutory damages. Statutory damages are

I was not aware of that... There's a big incentive to register.[/QUOTE]Absolutely.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #8
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Maybe a stupid question, but...

I want to make sure I understand the sequence correctly:
Is this sequence appropriate for bringing suit for statutory damages:

1) record the image(s)
2) image(s) are displayed by someone else
3) register
4) initiate a suit

Or, must the sequence be steps 1, 3, 2, 4 (as listed above)???

IOW, must the image(s) be registered BEFORE the "infringer" uses them?

Thanks.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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The answer simply put is no.

Any footage uploaded to YouTube or any other video sharing site MUST be owned by said individual or corporation uploading it. The 'Digital Millennium Copyright Act' covers this in full, hope that helps.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Digital Millennium Copyright Act
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Old October 31st, 2009, 07:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis Danatzko View Post
I want to make sure I understand the sequence correctly:
Is this sequence appropriate for bringing suit for statutory damages:

1) record the image(s)
2) image(s) are displayed by someone else
3) register
4) initiate a suit

Or, must the sequence be steps 1, 3, 2, 4 (as listed above)???

IOW, must the image(s) be registered BEFORE the "infringer" uses them?

Thanks.
Gotta be clear, AFAIK displaying an image does not infringe copyright. If I were a restauranteur, for example, I could go to a local photographer and buy a print of one of his copyrighted images to display on the wall of my restaurant and such display would not be infringing. OTOH, if I made copies of the photo and gave them away as souveniers or PR pieces, then it most certainly would be infringing. But posting a picture or a video on YouTube etc is not merely displaying them, it is copying them and distributing the copies.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 08:15 AM   #11
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If the kid at the video shop did not have the expressive permission by the author of the footage, he may not distribute it. the same goes for the people who uploaded it.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Gotta be clear, AFAIK displaying an image does not infringe copyright. If I were a restauranteur, for example, I could go to a local photographer and buy a print of one of his copyrighted images to display on the wall of my restaurant and such display would not be infringing. OTOH, if I made copies of the photo and gave them away as souveniers or PR pieces, then it most certainly would be infringing. But posting a picture or a video on YouTube etc is not merely displaying them, it is copying them and distributing the copies.
There is a series of rights that are reserved to the copyright owner. These include:

1. The right to make copies.
2. The right to prepare derivative works.
3. The distribution right.
4. The public performance right.

and . . .

5. The right to display publicly.
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