Youtube and Copyright – by Sejal Chaturvedi



The internet has given the world a new platform to communicate, interact, act, express, and even entertainment. Today across nations, through the internet everyone is in one way or the other a creator. Hence, any post any status, or any thought that you share on social media or YouTube is a form of creation. Therefore, in some sense today every social media account holder be it a company or individual is a creator. As result, in consonance with the IPR laws, every creator on social media or YouTube desires the rights of ownership, due recognition, right to reproduce, etc.

Copyright as an IPR

According to the Copyright laws, any literary work or artistic work or any form of expression is covered under copyright. Painting, sculpture, drawing (including a diagram, map, chart, or plan), engraving, photograph, work of architecture or artistic craftsmanship, dramatic work, literary work (including computer programs, tables, compilations, and computer databases), musical work (including music as well as graphical notations), sound recording, and cinematographic film are all examples of “work” under the Copyright Act of 1957.

In furtherance, it can also be understood that any dance/music video, audio short film, real-life sketches, tutorials, or any reaction video that one creates on their YouTube Channel comes under the ambit of unique expression protected by the Copyright laws.

Copyright protection on YOUTUBE

The Copyrights Act protects “original works of authorship fixed in any physical medium of expression, now known or hereafter created, from which they may be viewed, reproduced, or otherwise conveyed, either directly or via the use of a machine or technology.” The Copyright Act explicitly protects YouTube videos in the same way as it protects video and audio recordings made for television, cinema, radio, or other devices.

The Copyrights Act grants the exclusive right to the copyright owner to engage in any of the following activities:

  • Make copies or phono recordings of the copyrighted material.
  • Create further work based on the owner’s copyrighted work.
  • Distribute copies or phono recordings of the copyrighted work to the general public through the sale or other transfer of ownership, as well as through renting, leasing, or loan.
  • Perform in public, in person, or through audio/visual transmission, of the owner’s copyrighted literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, motion pictures, and other audio-visual works.
  • Showcase the owner’s copyrighted pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works in public, including individual pictures from a motion film or other audio-visual work.

The shield of FAIR -USE- In some restricted instances, the “fair use” provision permits someone to utilize copyright-protected works without the consent of the copyright owner.

Copyright Act, Section 107

It specifies the considerations that a court should examine when determining whether someone’s use of a copyrighted work amounts to “fair use,” which are as follows:

  • The purpose and nature of the usage, including whether it is commercial or for non-profit educational reasons.
  • The copyrighted work’s nature.
  • The size and significance of the piece are utilized in proportion to the entire copyrighted work.
  • The impact of the usage on the prospective market value or marketability of the copyrighted work.

Copyright issues on YOUTUBE 

After the above discussion it is well understood that there are rules and regulations well in place to protect copyright infringement creators. However, this often leads to many issues while working on YOUTUBE. Often for entertainment purposes or to draw relevance to the topic being discussed people use each other’s clips of content. Further, the creator has the power to put a copyright strike straightaway without giving a warning. Often videos are hidden or put under shadow or backlisted without giving any notice. On the other hand, many times small creators or channels with insignificant subscribers use others’ content and go unnoticed.


In a society where the awareness of IP laws is very limited and is considered to be useful for a certain set of people or skills, copyright strike on YouTube seems a very fancy term. Many people got to know about such terms only when famous creators shared their stories. Copyright issues are often seen as obstacles rather than tools opening better avenues and greater income. Further, with improper enforcement of IP policy on YouTube, understating IP law as a part and parcel of creation becomes all the more difficult. IPR knowledge is as crucial and should be as common as traffic laws and rules. Thus, it can be summarised with proper understanding and utilization of IPR laws, Copyright can be the mechanism for better collaboration and increased monetization.


The views are that of author’s own and not necessarily the views of IPTSE Academy. This blog is a platform for academic discussions and hence authors have been given flexibility to convey their thought process.


Sejal Chaturvedi


Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad


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