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Legal Considerations for Running a YouTube Channel

Legal Considerations for Running a YouTube Channel

Uploading videos to YouTube has become a very popular creative and business venture. Over 100 million people worldwide upload videos to YouTube to entertain, educate, make money, or some combination of the three. Some people even treat YouTube like a full-time job. Nearly 400,000 people spend a full 40 hours per week working on their YouTube channel, earning money in the process. But YouTubers can be sued if they upload content to YouTube that uses copyrighted material or injures another person in some way. Additionally, established YouTubers can take steps to protect their own copyrighted material and other creative content associated with their online brand. This blog post will cover 3 important legal considerations you should keep in mind if you run a YouTube channel.

1. Avoid Using Copyrighted Material
You generally cannot use someone else’s original material in your videos without first obtaining the creator’s permission. Using copyrighted audio or video can get you sued for copyright infringement, which could force you to remove the video containing the copyrighted material and possibly pay monetary damages to the owner. Exceptions exist under the Fair Use Act, which could allow you to use copyrighted material without permission if you are using it for creative or educational purposes, your use of the material has a minimal negative economic impact on the creator, or you are using only a very small amount of copyrighted material, among other things. Several factors go into whether you have infringed upon someone else’s copyright. An attorney can review your use of copyrighted material to see whether you are likely to face an infringement lawsuit.

2. Do Not Disclose Harmful or Private Information About Other People or Organizations
Disclosing private information or making false statements about other people in your videos could get you sued for things like defamation or invasion of privacy. Defamation is when a person maliciously or recklessly makes a public statement about someone else that is false and hurts the other person’s reputation. A statement made about someone else in a YouTube video can be defamatory even if only one other person watches the video. You could be sued for things like invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or public disclosure of a private fact if you share private or slanderous information about someone else on your YouTube channel.

3. Protect Your Intellectual Property
Any original content, logos, and even slogans you use on your YouTube channel qualify as intellectual property and may be protected by law. You can sue people for copyright infringement if they use your original audio or video without your permission, as discussed above. But you can also apply for a trademark to protect other types of original content associated with your channel, including your channel’s name and any slogans, symbols, or logos you came up with for your channel.

An experienced attorney can advise you further on how to avoid legal issues associated with your YouTube channel. If you are looking for legal advice, contact McNeelyLaw today. Our experienced team of Indiana intellectual property attorneys can assist you with all of your business and intellectual property needs.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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