Some movies (but not all) on YouTube have licenses incompatible with them being on YouTube. Could the viewer of such a video be technically guilty of any crime?

I am wondering for both U.S. and abroad.

  • 3
    Do you mean to ask, "Could it be a crime to watch a YouTube video that has been posted in violation of the owner's IP rights?"
    – feetwet
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:40
  • @feetwet Correct Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 9:42
  • 1
    I think part of the problem was the question was unclear. I just rephrased it. Feel free to amend if I altered your intent. Also note the answers on the related questions here and here.
    – feetwet
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


In New Zealand, under s37 of the Copyright Act 1994, it is secondary infringement (it's an offence under s131) to provide the means for making infringing copies. Every person who watches the video is effectively making an infringing copy, but the provision only catches the person who uploaded the video without the correct license.


No. Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Viewing does not fall under any of those acts.

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