On video sharing sites, like YouTube, is it legal for a person to watch music videos, TV shows or movies? I'm wondering if this counts as copyright infringement. I know the person responsible for uploading it is breaking the law.

  • 3
  • @DaleM But does watching something and only temporarily downloading it count at piracy?
    – FunFacts12
    Jan 20, 2016 at 9:02
  • absolutely, a copy is made on your computer, however temporary it is the creation of it is a copyright violation
    – Dale M
    Jan 20, 2016 at 10:49
  • @DaleM There is an exception to copyright law concerning temporary copies made with the purposes of displaying content. Note also that YouTube does not download videos to the browser cache, the video is downloaded in short sections as required and played immediately without saving to disk (although the same law applies because the content is still copied into your computer's RAM). Nov 15, 2017 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


It depends. Some companies, like Warner Music and Universal Music, have licensing agreements with You Tube. For example, here is what Warner says:

Q) I want to use a song in the WMG catalog in a YouTube video for my personal use. Can I use it for free?

A) Warner Music Group works with YouTube to enable the use of WMG content on YouTube for personal, non-profit use only. However, please bear in mind that the rights holders and YouTube reserve the right to block or remove this content without notice. WMG Licensing is not involved in these decisions. If you post WMG content on any site other than YouTube, you will need to request a license through us and can do so through clicking "Need To License a WMG Master?" at www.wmgmusiclicensing.com. If the video you post on YouTube containing WMG content is a film or documentary, promotion or advertisement for a company, or any other type of non-personal project, then you will also need to acquire a license. Request the use by clicking "Need To License a WMG Master?" at www.wmgmusiclicensing.com.

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