Copyright Laws and Youtube Policies

Youtube Policies

Over the past decade, YouTube has become one of the main platforms for content creators, providing them with a worldwide audience and significant creative liberty. However, it is important to remember the various copyright protections that arise when an individual interacts with the platform. In the United States, copyright law protects five elements of original works – reproduction, distribution, public display, public performance, and derivative works – all of which are likely to be asserted at one point or another. 

How are copyright protections asserted on YouTube?

The first element of copyright protection concerns reproduction. With respect to YouTube, reproduction may occur when users upload videos. By doing so, a digital reproduction of the video is being made on the page’s servers. At the same time, once a video has been uploaded and published, the distribution element occurs, given that the video has been distributed around the world via YouTube. Additionally, when a user views a YouTube video, the content may be publicly displayed and performed. The last element, derivative works, occurs when the original video is remixed or when a user creates a reaction video to the original video. 

What rights do content creators retain when posting on YouTube?

By navigating and using YouTube, every user is agreeing to its Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policies and Community Guidelines. For content creators that regularly upload videos, there are a few provisions that require special attention. One of these provisions requires content creators to ensure that the content they upload to YouTube is free from third-party intellectual property unless authorization from the work’s author has been acquired. Also, while content creators retain ownership rights to the videos they upload, there are certain rights granted to YouTube and its users. Similarly, by posting original content on YouTube, the creator is granting YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable license to use the content in connection with YouTube’s service and business. The content creator is also granting every YouTube user a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to access the content through YouTube, and to use it, including to reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, display, and perform it, as enabled by YouTube’s features. Importantly, if any of the content uploaded by an individual is found to be in breach of the Agreement, YouTube reserves the right to remove the content from the individual’s account. 

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

Share this post

Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields