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Author Topic: Reaction Youtube videos, legal? May the owner of the "original" report that vid?  (Read 1226 times)


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Let's assume: Someone is making a video: showing a video of another Youtuber (small window) while at the same time showing himself while watching this video of someone else, basicly to show himself reacting to this video.
Is that legal (if you don't have the permission from the owner of the original video) ? That person is using content from someone else in his own video. If the owner of the original video will report him, will they delete this reaction-video?
Or is this really as same as just talking/discussing about someone's video? How does that work, I mean the whole original video is playing from beginning to the end so it's not "just discussing".
Please tell me what you know, thanks in advance!

Robert K S

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You're asking about "fair use".  In the United States, "fair use" is a complicated area.  Its purpose is to balance the rights of copyright holders with the free speech rights to commentary that inhere in the First Amendment.  There are factors for fair use written right into the copyright statute, and courts have elaborated on these factors to a considerable degree over the years.  Each case is different and there is no one answer to your broad question.  If the contemplated use would effectively rob the copyright holder of the economic value of the underlying work, that would weigh heavily against a finding of fair use.  On the other hand, if the contemplated commentary could not possibly be done without the contemplated incorporation of the underlying work, that would weigh heavily in favor of a finding of fair use.  If you have serious concerns about the potential exposure to risk of liability involved with a contemplated use, you will want to consult an attorney.  If you think your original work has been "ripped off" on a video sharing site, inquire with that site as to what steps you should take to request the potentially infringing work be removed.  If your question is purely academic, try reading the many fair use opinions published by the Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts.
« Last Edit: 05-10-16 at 10:55 am by Robert K S »
This post is made in the context of professional discussion of general patent law issues and nothing contained herein may be construed as legal advice.

Robert T Nicholson

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This might or might not qualify as fair use.

However, if the owner of the original video files a DMCA takedown request, the offending video will almost certainly be removed.  The publishing website assumes legal liability for the infringement if they don't comply with the DMCA takedown process.  That's just not good business, so service providers almost always just remove the material in question. 

Here's a description of how to file a request.  There's also a link to the YouTube DMCA complaint form:

This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center


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