About 10 years ago, I uploaded a video to Youtube that I presume was created with a presumably free video editor that left a Watermark in the video.

I know a copyright claim being filed is unlikely, but I wanted to know for my soundness of mind if (and if specifics can't be given, then a general answer will suffice) this was a form of copyright infringement and if I'm technically at risk of losing access to/permission to use the multiple google/youtube accounts that I have and access due to copyright claims/ToS violation?

Thank you.

  • 2
    Is the question whether it's an infringement of the copyright on the watermark itself?
    – Ryan M
    Sep 15, 2020 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


I’m a bit confused here. Usually watermarks are used to reduce the commercial value of an image or video. It doesn’t affect copyright. It is unlikely that someone can claim adding a “do not copy” watermark to an image creates a derived work. And a “do not copy” watermark is likely not creative enough to have its own copyright.

You may have permission to reproduce the video with watermark, but that depends. If not and if the video is copyrighted then it was copyright infringement. Damages may be lower because of the lower commercial value.

PS. Since the video is your own: It happens that a free (no cost) video adds a watermark, so you can try it out, but cannot use it commercially. Like you wouldn’t want a watermark in your wedding video; if you pay for the editor the watermarks go away.

As I said, it is unlikely that the creator of the watermark can claim copyright, because copyright requires a creative process and the watermark will have very little creativity. It is even less likely that the creator of the watermark takes you to court about it and wins, or sends a DMCA takedown notice. They are not interested in that. And others can’t accuse you of copyright infringement.

If it is like an advert for the software, they most likely want you to make as many copies as possible. That would be in their best interest. You may have a license that actually allows you to duplicate the watermark.

  • Hi, I apologise for the confusion, what I'm trying to ask is if the video that I created and proceeded to post was a form of copyright infringement? as the video that I created with what I'm assuming was the editor had a watermark added it to (presumably, by the software) that I'm assuming was some sort of software logo for the video editor.
    – 1a28934
    Sep 16, 2020 at 7:34
  • @gnasher729 I think the OP is asking what happens if the watermark logo does appear to be the result of a creative process (e.g., if it's a unique and original image).
    – grovkin
    Sep 16, 2020 at 14:05
  • Specifically, unless there are terms of use that negate this, I think the video created in the editor is technically a unique/original creative work, but I just worry if the small watermark that appears to be a logo that was layered over the corner of the video by, presumably, the video editor which I then proceeded to distribute by uploading to YouTube is a form of copyright infringement. @grovkin
    – 1a28934
    Sep 17, 2020 at 8:01
  • Would uploading said video (with the above clarifications on the nature of the video) to a YouTube channel that I do not think I'm currently monetizing/ever was monetizing (unless you count promoting a referral link for a video game as monetization) count as commercial use and would that be viable grounds for a DMCA Takedown Request/Copyright Infringement Claims/etc.? @gnasher729
    – 1a28934
    Sep 17, 2020 at 8:05

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