Suppose an app has a collection of links to YouTube videos about a particular topic (e.g., sports). Users can watch video by clicking on the Play video button. This will open up the YouTube video in the official YouTube app or browser if the user wishes to do so.

Could this violate any copyright law, or the YouTube terms of service?

  • Is this done in commerce or personally?
    – Andrew
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 16:54
  • So long as you aren't actually streaming youtube content, and simply acting as a portal to youtube content, the service as described shouldn't infringe at all. It organizes links by category, and doesn't take anything from youtube at all. In fact, there are already plenty of sites / apps that do that, although they generally don't limit themselves to youtube alone. Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 22:18
  • Pivotally, you're not actually using youtube at all, so this doesn't fall under their ToS. In the same way that I can tell you not to enter my yard, but I can't tell you that you're never allowed to point in the direction of my yard unless you explicitly agree not to do that (well, I could tell you, but you'd be under no obligation to comply). Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


Copyright Law:

Probably Not so long as you are not hosting anything other than a link. (This is a secondary source)

Even if academics and technology enthusiasts prefer an absolute right to link on the Internet, the business world has an interest in regulating what information is shared.66 Businesses will protest free linking to their materials if it interferes with their sales or marketing messages.67 If a website operator *1090 desires to restrict certain content from being linked to or integrated in another site, the operator can require a password to view the site or can technically disable outside sites from in-line linking to images or media hosted by the site.68

Youtube ToS: You may have an issue with ToS 4. D. if you have ads on your webpage. Service here is defined as "by using or visiting the YouTube website or any YouTube products, software, data feeds, and services provided to you on, from, or through the YouTube website "

But it does seem to allow you to use an embedded player in your site if you wanted. ToS 4. F.


Generally, providing links to websites will not violate copyright law. This would include YouTube videos.

It is possible that if the sole or primary purpose of your app is to facilitate copyright infringement - for instance, by linking to copyright-infringing material - you may be liable under local laws. This would depend on your jurisdiction, and the amount of copyright infringement required to be facilitated will vary.

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