Copyright · Creative · Social media

Posting Other People’s Videos

Is it OK to post other peoples’ YouTube Videos?

I am really interested in viral videos and the unique culture of the Internet. Why are cats so popular? What makes a viral video? And why are online trolls such kermudjins?

While conducting research for a blog post about viral videos, I realized that the first step would have to be to “dot my ‘i’s and cross my’t’s”. Meaning I would have to be sure that the links I post don’t offend anybody, take profit away from somebody’s ideas, or otherwise rain on your parade. Although the troubling thing with intellectual property law (especially as it relates to the internet) is the vast grey areas you will encounter – there is a method to the madness but at this point in time the experts find it as confusing as the laymen.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

This stuff is confusing; even if you try very hard to perform your due diligence you will probably step on some toes somewhere. Your best bet is to create your own content whenever possible and always give credit / perform your due diligence if you do a bit of sampling.


How do I Find Interesting Videos?

This is the fun part! YouTube, Vimeo, and the rest of the Internet are FULL of content created by fans, nerdy teenagers, and companies alike. As search algorithms become more sophisticated; personalized content is presented to users in a way that is most “interesting to them” (see Filter Bubbles).

My search for “Funny Cat” will not be the same as your search for “Funny Cat” – but there will certainly be some overlap. See anything you recognize?

Funny Cat

Keywords and search history are important to the user and content creators aiming to get their content onto the computer screens of their audience.


Can I Share it?

European intellectual property courts decided in 2014 that embedding videos is not copyright infringement (Link to TorrentFreak Story). This was declared a landmark victory and nerds everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. At least something about copyright law was finally clear!

For general users, as long as the video you are embedding doesn’t “change the audience”, and as long as there is an “embed” code on the video – you’re good to go.

If you don’t know what it looks like, please see above.

This is important because I can share things like this video of an iguana with impunity.

(Don’t be embarassed, little guy – its natural!)



What Could Cause Trouble?

The thing with the “embed” function is a two-edged sword. If the content shared is likely to be removed because the *real* copyright owner will contact the person who posted the YouTube video to ask for its removal – your video will disappear. You could also get into some trouble (depending on many factors such as your location); but it is most likely that you will look like an incapable putz without realizing it.

In short – please don’t re-post the newest episode of Game of Thrones and assume it will be OK. People have Netflix now and TV studios tend to be very protective over their intellectual property.

Use common sense, look for an embed code, and you will (most likely) be O.K.

I hope that you use this information to share videos with confidence that you’re *probably* not a bad person!



Look for the embed code – and don’t be a jerk. The Internet is a worldwide community. We’ve gotta figure this out together.

***Please note: I am not an attorney. If you are in legal trouble, please contact a lawyer.***

If you’d like to continue this conversation – leave a comment.

If you have suggestions for future blog posts – let me know.

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