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Is Posting a YouTube Video on a Blog a Copyright Violation?

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4 Responses

  1. Sam Bayard says:

    I blogged about this topic a few months ago at

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/embedded-video-and-copyright-infringement

    Sam Bayard

    Assistant Director

    Citizen Media Law Project

  2. AF says:

    It seems to me that watching, as opposed to posting, an infringing video on YouTube is fair use. A single viewing of an Internet image or video, while technically copying, seems to be an act of fair purpose and character. This is what the Ninth Circuit held in Perfect 10. See pages 5787-88 of the following link: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/DE8297F56287C0BC882572DC007DACC6/$file/0655405.pdf

    It is hard to imagine a court ruling otherwise, or indeed to imagine a copyright owner suing mere web surfers (as opposed to YouTube posters, music or pornography downloaders, etc.) for copyright infringement.

    I therefore disagree with Sam Bayard’s argument, in the above-linked post, that Google has a stronger defense against contributory infringement in its search engine than does a blogger who posts a link to copyrighted video on YouTube. While Google may have less knowledge of any specific act of copyright infringement, it does, in fact contribute to copyright infringement in the form of unauthorized commercial reproduction or downloading. A blogger-linker probably does not contribute to any direct infringement, since viewing a YouTube video is fair use and not infringement.

  3. Bruce Boyden says:

    Dan, why stop with copyright? I’m sure a number of people would agree with you that if it’s reasonable and fair, it’s unlikely to be the law generally.

    It’s true that the law here is somewhat murky, particularly outside of the 9th Circuit. Given that the whole situation is still somewhat novel, and there is relatively little caselaw, I’m not sure why murky law should be viewed as a failure, rather than a virtue, of the legal system.

  4. adm says:

    I don’t think we’re likely to see litigation on this matter unless and until the blog on which the video is embedded is one that actually makes money AND the owner of the video is wealthy and out to make a point. Because YouTube doesn’t “own” the videos in question, and the individual YouTube members who post the videos probably do not have the resources or incentive to go after an unpaid blogger just to stand on principle. Moreover, the owners of the videos (the YouTube account holders) can simply remove their videos from YouTube and re-upload them in order to break the link used by any blogger – kind of a “do it yourself” injunction.

    Perez Hilton, TMZ, etc. post YouTube videos all the time and haven’t been sued.

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