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We are planning on starting a website that gives uploaders a service for their videos. The users upload their video to the site, and the site is ranking their videos, letting them have a community opinion on their content.

The question is about copyrights. The site’s purpose is to be free for anyone to use, and get community support and service. The business model is having the videos uploaded by the site to YouTube, earning from views by YouTube, and displaying ads. Maybe a donate button.

If we state the aforementioned above in the terms of service, should there be a problem of copyrights?

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No matter who uploads video content to YouTube - be it an individual, another site or a third-party app - the uploader is still bound by YouTube's Terms of Service and copyright stipulations:

You further agree that Content you submit to the Service will not contain third party copyrighted material, or material that is subject to other third party proprietary rights, unless you have permission from the rightful owner of the material or you are otherwise legally entitled to post the material and to grant YouTube all of the license rights granted herein.

So if one of your users uploads video content (to your site and which is uploaded to YouTube) that is copyrighted by someone else, they are liable, and, generally speaking (depending on jurisdiction) not you.

But it's more possible YouTube would be unhappy that you are automating uploads:

You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, "robots," "spiders," or "offline readers," that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.

That could be an issue, unless you arrive at an agreement with them to allow you to automate uploads.

  • Thanks for the quick and thorough reply! Valuable info! – Ted Nov 26 '18 at 17:35
  • Thanks, but don't depend on my answer as legal advice; for your new business, find a lawyer. – BlueDogRanch Nov 26 '18 at 17:43

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