Back when Metallica and Napster were fighting, teenage boys in America were afraid to download any song of the Internet for fear of missing the Senior Prom in favor of a Turkish prison. While that prison did clean up nice, especially with it’s Midsummer Night’s Dream theme, we’re not out of the water yet when it comes to copyright lawsuits for online content. The latest offering that many YouTube searchers have probably come across is full movies posted in their entirety right on YouTube. Sure the movies aren’t necessarily current blockbusters but there still has to be some legality issues in posting movie clips on YouTube…right?
What’s Not Legal
Perhaps the first thing to weed out when understanding the posting of movie clips on YouTube is what is not legal. For instance, if somebody is trying to turn a profit off blatantly copyrighted material than they can face a banning from YouTube and legal action. Since the cases are so abundant, lawyers for the copyright holders usually start with a cease and desist email.
If the YouTube uploader is still dumb enough to keep copyrighted material online then they usually get what’s deserved. While some people might think it’s YouTube taking their videos down, it is actually the work of major production studios such as Viacom, who recently sued YouTube for $1,000,000,000 (that’s 1 billion). Their claim is that since YouTube makes it so easy for users to upload movies, the studio is missing out on profit because who wants to pay $9 for a movie ticket and $13 for some Dots when you can just fire up your laptop for the same film?
What Is Legal in Posting Movie Clips On YouTube
There are a few steps a person can take to ensure the content they’ve posted on YouTube is legal.
#1. Give Credit
The first step is to have general good intent. This means if you’ve found a rare movie that you want to share with fellow fanatics, feel free to upload it. Make sure to give proper credit to the originators of the content and make sure you distance yourself from all ownership of the content.
#2. Don’t Upload for Money
The second tip is to never attempt to make money or gain publicity from uploading the material. Don’t even attempt to draw visitors to your blog or websites with your YouTube movie clips as rights holders may look at that as a monetary gain.
#3. Create Your Own Original Content
This is the best way to upload legal content to Youtube. Make your own videos or screen casts Just remember not to have anyone else’s background music or clips in your movie clip.
As it stands, the fiscal year of CBS does not ride on whether they sue little old Joe_NCIS_FAN29 for $3,500 for posting a 10 minute clip of their show. They typically only go after heavy hitters who have deep pockets or offer a legitimate threat to their bottom line. If a bootlegged movie website has 5,000 paying customers at $30 a month and the site continually offers quality movie downloads of new releases then there might be a slight problem.
As stated earlier, it’s best to upload videos without any lingering malicious intent and with only the purest of interests…or you could follow the immortal words of Metallica and “Upload Em All.”