Video Copyright Laws

By Holly Cameron

Copyright laws prohibit unauthorized copying or reproduction of original audiovisual works. In today’s digital world, videos exist not only in a physical form, but also in electronic formats online. Both viewers and creators of videos should have a basic understanding of copyright laws set out in Title 17 of the United States Code. Breach of copyright can lead to substantial fines.

Copyright laws prohibit unauthorized copying or reproduction of original audiovisual works. In today’s digital world, videos exist not only in a physical form, but also in electronic formats online. Both viewers and creators of videos should have a basic understanding of copyright laws set out in Title 17 of the United States Code. Breach of copyright can lead to substantial fines.

Definition of Audiovisual Works

Section 102 of the Copyright Act protects original audiovisual works of authorship. The Copyright Act defines audiovisual works as consisting of a series of related images that are intended to be shown by use of projectors or electronic equipment. The creator of a video owns the copyright for that video. Anyone who sells, distributes, copies or otherwise reproduces all or part of the video breaches copyright laws.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Public Performance

Copyright law allows individuals to watch videos or DVDs in their own homes in the company of friends and family. The law does not permit public performances without the permission of the copyright owner. Section 101 of the Copyright Act defines a public performance as one for people outside the normal circle of family and friends, or at a venue that is open to the public. If you want to show videos in a public place, you should purchase a license from the copyright owner.

Fair Use

The fair use doctrine allows individuals and organizations to use copyrighted material, including videos, in certain circumstances such as news reporting or education. A school teacher, therefore, may show a legal copy of a video to a group of pupils as part of a classroom lesson. The video should relate directly to the course that the pupils are studying. Most educational establishments have their own guidelines for using videos.

Creating Videos

If you create a video, you may want to include elements of copyrighted material such as music or images, mixed into the final work. The fact that you own a CD or any other form of musical track does not mean that you have the right to use that music except for personal or home use. You can, however, include copyrighted material if it is incidental or accidental. For example, if you video a couple’s first dance at a wedding and include the wedding music, this will not constitute a breach of copyright law.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
Movie Copyright Laws

References

Related articles

Comic Copyright Laws

Copyright law protects original works from unlicensed copying or reproduction. The copyright belongs to the creator of the work and exists from the moment the work is produced in a fixed form. Copyright extends to both pictorial and written expressions and therefore includes both the writing and the pictures contained in comics. Depending on the nature and style of the comic, it can be classified as either a work of visual arts or a literary work. The Copyright Act can be found in Title 17 of the United States Code.

DVD Copyright Rules

United States copyright law is designed to protect the rights of people who create artistic work and those who purchase the right to use such works. DVD copyrights may be registered through the U.S. Copyright Office, but a DVD does not have to be registered to be copyrighted. Copyright protection immediately flows to an item the moment it is created in some tangible form; a DVD is considered a tangible form.

Copyright Laws & Video Games

Video games form the heart of a vital economic industry that relies on the creativity of game designers and innovative companies to develop a consistently fresh supply of new games. Copyright law protects the economic value of video games by insuring that only the creator of the work has the right to duplicate, sell or make related merchandise from the game codes, images, dialogue and characters.

Related articles

Statutes on Video Copyrights

The entire U.S. copyright law, which includes provisions that protect videos and other types of artistic expression, is ...

What Are the Copyright Laws for Images?

Digital cameras and social networking sites have led to an increase in the volume of images across the media. Anyone ...

Music Copyright Laws and Playing a Song at a Meeting

Copyright laws protect original musical works from unauthorized copying, sale or reproduction. Before playing a song at ...

Instructional Videos Copyright Law

Copyright laws protect instructional videos, including documentaries, compilations and derivative works, from being ...

Browse by category