Updated: Jul 29, 2020
The popularity of non-corporate YouTube channels has exploded. If your kids are like mine, birthday party planning now involves scouring the internet for balloons and cake toppers bearing the likeness of Tatty la Brujita or Aumsum, leaving poor Elmo and Superman to collect dust on the shelf at the local party supply store. In addition to these highly produced offerings, parents with cute kids, extreme sports amateurs, and everyday citizens with strong political opinions have stumbled upon fame with little more than a smartphone and a catch-phrase.
Finding ourselves going out less often due to CoVID-19, perhaps you've thought of filling your new-found free time by jumping into the fray. It's tempting to dismiss legal concerns with "I'm just recording videos in my house, what's the big deal?" However, if even the most minuet infringement of someone else's copyright cannot be removed from the video, that copyright owner has a right to request compensation and/or the removal of the video.
For example, perhaps your daughters have created their own fantasy world revolving around an Elsa doll. One being a skilled woodworker and the other a seamstress, they've created all the clothes and background sets themselves in addition to penning a script that resembles not one frame of any of the Frozen franchise. Unfortunately, Disney still owns the rights to the likeness of Elsa (i.e. the doll's face) thus granting them the ability to request a take-down.
Allow me another example that's less obvious: you've created a channel sharing your political opinion on current events from your home office. In the frame, directly behind you is an un-obscured view of an original work of art you purchased at an art festival. Unless you've contracted otherwise, the artist still owns the rights to that painting, including the right to have the painting "synced" in video.
In addition, assuming everything goes according to plan and your videos go viral, you may find yourself on the other side of copyright infringement as other social influencers upload parts of your video to their own social media pages, effectively taking credit for your content and usurping those valuable hits and likes.
Contact us for review of your YouTube videos to discuss any potential legal pitfalls and how to protect your interests. Waiting until after the videos go viral will make it more difficult to disentangle the content you properly own from that owned by others.
Blog posts do not constitute legal advice or representation.