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Thread: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

  1. #1
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    Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    First of all, sorry for my English. I am Dutch speaking, so I might have a lot of typos in this post.

    I like to embed Youtube videos (travel videos) in my blog and website. A lot of people are posting beautiful self made videos on the web. In most cases they add background music to their video.
    And here's my question about.

    Is it legal to use (populair) music as background? If not, what will happen when I (and thousands of other people) will embed such videos in their blog or website? This happens every second...
    Can we get problems embedding these kind of videos? I'm not talking about recorded music videos, etc. from TV, but home made videos with (copyrighted) background music.

    I hope my question is clear: Can people who embed youtube videos get problems or only the people who upload these videos? (or both?)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member erikko's Avatar
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    you can do both but i suggest you to upload your videos in Blogger than embedding it.

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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    This is a good question and I am not sure if a definitive answer has been given from any court system.

    I make extensive usage of embedded videos throughout my sites. I have been operating under the conclusion that embedded videos are the same as in-line image links. As such, it is not direct copyright infringement because I am not hosting the video on my sites. This would be the same scenario as in the Perfect 10 vs Google lawsuit where an appeals court ruled that since Google did not have the material object which was displayed that it was not in violation of the Copyright Act.

    I hope this helps.

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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    As some additional information, that is marginally germane, YouTube has recently begun to mute uploaded videos with readily identifiable music. Some acquaintances have had this affect them, and have tried to get clarification, but with no response as yet. The question was whether they had done this because of complaints, or of their own volition. ???

    I find it interesting that many videos feature TV and movie clips that would obviously be subject to infringement charges, buy YouTube seems to feel that their disclaimer protects them. Yet they are muting/removing musical scores. What's up with that?

  5. #5
    Administrator weegillis's Avatar
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Technically, if it's not yours, (that is, you didn't create it) and you don't have license to reproduce it (that is, you didn't pay a royalty for its use) then publishing it is copyright infringement.

    If someone produces a video using an unauthorized audio track, then publishes it, this would be copyright infringement. Now if you happen to link to their video, while not in direct violation yourself (so you're safe, one supposes) you are still giving a nod to that person's infringement.

    Once something is posted to YouTube or any other media upload service, it falls under their Terms of Use, giving them complete freedom to remove any video they deem an infringement. They may even revoke a user's privileges, if they so wish. There is a clear declaration made by the user that they own and have the right to publish whatever they upload. Clearly, if it is not theirs, they are in violation of the TOU.

    It is not a monetary question. Reproduction and redistribution, even if it is for free, is copyright infringement, plain and simple. Just copying a CD and giving it to your friend is infringement.

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    WebProWorld MVP wige's Avatar
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Actually, I see two possible problems with embedding these videos on a commercial web site. The first is that you may be violating the terms of use of YouTube by embedding content on a commercial site, rather than a personal blog - their policy strictly prohibits embedding videos for the purposes of advertisement.

    Second, you don't have a fair use claim to the use of the background music because, unlike Google which only shows a representative, reduced copy of the media for purposes of demonstrating indexed content, you are using a full song as the background of what could be argued is an advertisement on a commercial site. I think in this case you are on a very fine line, and quite possibly over it.

    In the case mentioned above, Google at least had a fair use claim: Google images displays reduced versions of the copyrighted material (thumbnail versions of full size images), for purposes of representing to users the contents of the full media file (the thumbnail has the purpose of giving a user a general idea of the contents of the full work, without actually showing the full detail of the protected work). This has been long held to be the basis for fair use in the US. I don't see any way that your proposed usage would fall under fair use exemption.

    I almost read your original question as asking, "if I steal a song, can I get away with it because someone else hosts the stolen content, which was given to them by the person that originally stole it?" Just because you are the third party in the chain, you are knowingly and willlfully using the stolen content. If you got sued by the copyright holder, I can't see any possible defense you could use. It would be like driving around in a car that you know is stolen - it doesn't matter if someone else actually stole it, and it is stored in a rented garage, you're still going to jail.
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    WebProWorld MVP Doc's Avatar
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by weegillis View Post
    It is not a monetary question. Reproduction and redistribution, even if it is for free, is copyright infringement, plain and simple. Just copying a CD and giving it to your friend is infringement.

    Very true, weegillis. I saw a paper a few weeks ago, regarding an ongoing effort to put more teeth in the copyright laws, and remove the protections for people like those that embed YouTube vids in their blogs and forums...basically pushing the responsibility down to the end-user, to determine what is fair use or copyrighted.

    With things like this being so difficult to adequately police, I'm afraid it just gives more ammunition to those that are against net neutrality.

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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by wige View Post
    Actually, I see two possible problems with embedding these videos on a commercial web site. The first is that you may be violating the terms of use of YouTube by embedding content on a commercial site, rather than a personal blog - their policy strictly prohibits embedding videos for the purposes of advertisement.

    Second, you don't have a fair use claim to the use of the background music because, unlike Google which only shows a representative, reduced copy of the media for purposes of demonstrating indexed content, you are using a full song as the background of what could be argued is an advertisement on a commercial site. I think in this case you are on a very fine line, and quite possibly over it.
    I don't see how embedding a YouTube on one's blog could be construed as commercial use, under typical circumstances, wige. On a website, I could more easily imagine it, though. I fully agree with you about the background music. What about the clips from various TV programs and movies, though? Aren't they just as proprietary (and in many cases, the cost of production for the artist, much higher)?

  9. #9
    WebProWorld MVP wige's Avatar
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    I don't see how embedding a YouTube on one's blog could be construed as commercial use, under typical circumstances, wige. On a website, I could more easily imagine it, though. I fully agree with you about the background music. What about the clips from various TV programs and movies, though? Aren't they just as proprietary (and in many cases, the cost of production for the artist, much higher)?
    To me the difference is in the type of blog. From the original post, I get the feeling that the post that accompanies the embedded video will be something like "watch the video and see how beautiful Jamaica is, then buy your plane tickets from my web site" (commercial) as opposed to a blog that embeds the same clip and accompanies it with a message like "I just got back from Jamaica, check out the video and see how amazing the beaches were!" (personal) - intent is very much a consideration in determining fair use, and even if the owner of the protected work will give permission for the work to be used. For instance, some media is produced with a license that allows it to be used without royalties, as long as there is no commercial connection. In this case, it could be the difference between getting a Cease and Desist ("You are using my song on your blog. Please stop") and getting sued ("You are using my song to advertise trips to Jamaica. You now owe me...")

    As far as the different handling between music and video, I think there are a few reasons for the discrepancy. The same laws apply in both cases, but RIAA is almost militant in their attempts to suppress the unauthorized circulation of the music their artists create, whereas the television studios have seen that the lower quality shared content can actually lead to increased DVD sales or increased viewership of current programming. Videos do still get pulled, but it seems to take longer. In fact, I believe some studios even upload episodes of shows onto YouTube themselves.
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    Re: Embed Youtube video = copyright problems?

    Fair points, wige. And your take on the difference between videos and music is probably valid. I recently read somewhere that some studios had tacitly approved uploads of extended trailers, clips and such, because it actually amounted to free advertising. Makes sense.
    Thanks.

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