Do you know how to post videos without copyright infringement?
Videos have evolved into a language of their own, reaching millions of hearts and minds worldwide with stories that provoke thought, provide entertainment, or simply bring people together.
Yet, as we navigate through this exciting realm of multimedia content, it’s crucial we tread carefully to respect and uphold intellectual property rights.
When it comes to sharing videos online, it’s not always as straightforward as hitting ‘upload.’ Navigating the world of copyright laws can seem daunting, and the penalties for infringement can be significant.
Yet, there’s no need to be discouraged or overwhelmed! With a little bit of knowledge and mindfulness, you can confidently share your video content without running afoul of rules.
In this blog post, we aim to untangle the complexities of video copyright and provide you with comprehensive guidance on posting videos without copyright infringement.
Video copyright infringement online, simply put, is the unauthorised use of copyrighted video content on the internet.
It occurs when a person or an organisation posts, shares, or uses a video or a part of it that’s protected by copyright without the permission of the original holder.
Copyright law protects original works of authorship, including video content. When someone creates a video, they automatically own the copyright to that material.
This gives them exclusive rights to reproduce the work, create derivative works, distribute copies, and publicly perform and display the work.
If anyone else wants to use this material, they must obtain permission from the copyright holder, typically through a license.
Using copyrighted material without such permission constitutes infringement.
For instance, uploading a movie clip to a personal blog, sharing a music video on social media, or using parts of a copyrighted video in a new video, without getting permission from the holder, can be considered infringement.
The penalties for copyright infringement can be severe, including hefty fines and even jail time in some cases.
Also, many online platforms have automated systems to detect and remove copyrighted content, and repeated infringements can lead to a user’s account being suspended or terminated.
However, it’s worth noting that there are certain exceptions to copyright infringement.
These exceptions, known as “fair use” in the United States, allow for limited use of copyrighted material under certain circumstances, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
Understanding video copyright infringement is crucial if you’re sharing content online.
In the following sections, we’ll delve further into how to avoid infringement when posting videos online, and how to use copyrighted material legally and ethically.
A copyright infringement claim, in the context of online video sharing platforms like YouTube, is a formal notification issued by an owner or their representative to indicate that content uploaded by a user infringes their copyright.
When you upload a video, platforms like YouTube automatically scan your upload against a vast database of files submitted by content owners.
This process identifies matches between your video and the copyrighted material. If such a match is found, the platform will issue a claim on behalf of the owner.
This is not an arbitrary decision made by the platform, but an automated response to a match in their content ID system.
A claim is not necessarily equivalent to a legal action, but it can have significant implications for the video and the uploader.
Depending on the owner’s policy, different actions may be taken:
A copyright claim can be disputed by the uploader if they believe the claim is incorrect or they have the necessary rights or permissions for the copyrighted material.
If the uploader’s dispute is rejected, they can appeal.
Copyright law provides creators with several exclusive rights over their work, including video content.
This means that the copyright owner, and only the owner, has the right to carry out certain actions related to the work or to authorise others to do so.
These exclusive rights are foundational to law and are designed to protect and reward creativity.
The specific rights may vary by jurisdiction, but they commonly include:
Reproduction Right: This is the right to make copies of the copyrighted work.
For video content, this would include duplicating a video file, uploading a copy of a video to a platform like YouTube, or copying the video onto a DVD or other storage media.
Derivative Work Right: This is the right to create new works based on the original copyrighted work.
For videos, this might include creating a sequel to a film, using scenes from a video in a new context, or translating a video into another language.
Distribution Right: This is the right to distribute copies of the work to the public.
For videos, this would include distributing DVDs, streaming the video online, or including the video in a television broadcast.
Public Performance Right: This is the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly.
For videos, this would include screening a film in a movie theater, broadcasting a video on television, or streaming a video on an online platform where the public can view it.
Public Display Right: This is the right to display the copyrighted work publicly.
This right is less relevant for videos, but it might apply in a case where individual frames from a video are displayed in a public place.
The first step is to identify the video that is infringing upon your copyright. You need to have a good-faith belief that your copyright is being infringed upon.
Once you have identified the infringing video, you need to report it to the platform.
On YouTube, this can be done through the Copyright Complaint form.
To get to the form, go to the page of the infringing video, click on “More” below the video, select “Report”, then choose “Infringes my rights”, and finally “Infringes my copyright”.
The form will require some basic information such as your name, address, and an assertion that you are the owner or an authorised representative.
You also need to provide details about your original content such as a URL to where it can be found, and information about the infringing video.
In the form, you will need to include a statement of good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorised by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
Finally, you’ll have to attest, under penalty of perjury, that the information you’ve provided in the complaint is accurate and that you are indeed the owner or an agent authorised to act on behalf of the owner.
After completing the form, submit it. YouTube will review the complaint and if it is found to be valid, the infringing video will be removed.
If YouTube agrees with your complaint, they will remove the video and issue a copyright strike
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If a person infringes upon someone else’s copyrighted material, they can face several potential consequences, depending on the severity of the infringement and the jurisdiction in which it occurs.
Here are some common issues an infringer might face:
Copyright Strikes: On many digital platforms like YouTube, the platform itself may issue a copyright strike against the user who has infringed.
If a user receives multiple strikes, their account could be suspended or terminated.
Legal Action: The copyright holder may choose to take legal action against the infringer.
This can result in a lawsuit where the infringer may be required to pay damages, which can be substantial depending on the extent of the infringement and any resulting profit loss for the copyright owner.
Criminal Charges: In some cases, especially with severe or large-scale copyright infringement, criminal charges can be brought against the infringer.
This can lead to fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.
Reputation Damage: The infringer can suffer significant damage to their reputation, particularly if they are a business or a professional in a creative industry.
This can impact their ability to attract clients or customers in the future.
Removal of Content: The infringing content is often removed from the platform where it was shared, which can lead to lost views, followers, or revenue.
Loss of Revenue: If the infringer was monetising the infringing content (for example, through ads on a YouTube video), they will lose that source of revenue.
In some cases, they may also be required to pay the profits they made from the infringing content to the copyright holder.
Legal Costs: If a lawsuit is brought against the infringer, they could incur significant legal costs, regardless of the outcome of the case.
Create Original Content: The best way to avoid copyright infringement is by creating original content.
This includes not just the video footage itself, but also the audio. Keep in mind that logos, images, and even certain phrases can be copyrighted.
Understand Fair Use: In some cases, you may use copyrighted material under “fair use” laws, but this is a complex area of law and can depend heavily on the specific circumstances.
Fair use typically applies when the copyrighted material is used for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research and doesn’t negatively impact the market for the original work.
Obtain Permissions: If you want to use someone else’s copyrighted work in your video, you should obtain permission from the copyright holder, usually through a process called licensing.
This can sometimes involve paying a fee. Always keep a record of these permissions.
Use Royalty-Free or Creative Commons Content: You can use royalty-free music or images or ones that are released under a Creative Commons license.
There are many websites that provide such content. Always check the specific license terms, as some may require attribution, for example.
Be Careful with Cover Songs: If you’re creating a cover of a song, you should obtain a synchronisation license from the music publisher.
While you may own the copyright to your performance, the copyright for the song itself still belongs to the original copyright holder.
Avoid ‘Borrowed’ Footage: Don’t use clips from movies, TV shows, music videos, or other videos, unless they are in the public domain or you have obtained a license.
Beware of Parodies: While parodies can be considered as fair use, the laws around parodies can be complex. If your video is a parody, consider seeking legal advice.
Check Platform-Specific Rules: Some platforms, like YouTube, have specific rules about copyrighted content and can provide tools to help creators avoid copyright issues.
Using even a small portion of copyrighted music without obtaining permission can still be considered copyright infringement.
It’s recommended to use royalty-free music, obtain necessary licenses, or create original music for your video.
Giving credit to the original creator is a good practice but it does not automatically grant you permission to use their copyrighted material.
You still need to obtain the appropriate licenses or permissions to use their content in your video.
While you may own the copyright to your performance in a cover song, the copyright for the song itself (the lyrics and melody) still belongs to the original copyright holder.
To post a cover song video without infringing copyright, you would generally need a synchronisation license from the music publisher.
Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material without permission under certain circumstances, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.
However, whether something qualifies as fair use can depend on several factors and can be complex to determine. When in doubt, it’s best to seek legal advice.
Buying a movie or music track typically only gives you the right to personal use. It doesn’t provide you the right to use it in your own creations, like a video you plan to distribute.
To use these in your video, you’d usually need to obtain a separate license or permission from the copyright holder.
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