YouTube is the largest user-generated videos portal on the internet where private individuals as well as commercial and not-for-profit organizations upload videos. As far as posting files that contain or use works of others without authorization is concerned, YouTube makes it clear on its “Terms of Service” page that users will not reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, or display content without the prior written consent of the respective licensors of the content. In addition, it will be the responsibility of the user to make sure that he/she has the proper permission, license, consent, right, or permission to upload content from a third party and not YouTube. YouTube states that it reserves the right to terminate access to its services if the user is found guilty of repeat infringement (YouTube).
YouTube offers rights to content owners under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and advises them to submit a notification with all necessary documents if their content might have been utilized in some manner without authorization. The company also mentions that it will not be legally responsible for damages that may occur due to violations of terms of service by the users. YouTube does inform the users that there may be differences among countries regarding the use of copyright-protected materials, thus, it is the responsibility of the users to educate themselves on local laws. The company also mentions that copyright-protected work can sometimes be utilized under the ‘fair use’ doctrine though only courts can determine the ‘fair use’ status. Under ‘fair use’, copyright-protected works can sometimes be used for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research (YouTube).
YouTube. (n.d.). Terms of Service. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms
YouTube. (n.d.). What is fair use? Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/fair-use.html