Although it appears quite clear, the upload page says this:
Important: You must own the copyright or have the necessary rights for any content you upload. [ http://www.youtube.com/t/howto_copyright ]Learn more
And the link leads to this:
Anytime YouTube becomes aware that a video or any part of a video on our site infringes the copyrights of a third party, we will take it down from the site as required by law.
It seems very unclear what the actual policy is.
Youtube also say this ( http://www.youtube.com/t/contentid ):
What is Content ID?
YouTube's state-of-the-art technologies let rights owners:
- Identify user-uploaded videos comprised entirely OR partially of their content, and
- Choose, in advance, what they want to happen when those videos are found. Make money from them. Get stats on them. Or block them from YouTube altogether.
What they say is conflicting. They tell users not to upload copyright material, but they tell rights owners they have a choice of what to do.
There is also this intersting article which seems to suggest Youtube is really grappling with outmoded copyright laws:
So Youtube may know immediately (due to their file matching Content ID technology) that you have uploaded copyright material, but they don't do anything about it unless the copyright owner tells them to. If they did actually enforce their rules (which are based on the "law") then what, 80% (?) of videos on there would be taken down?
What concerns me is that after being a good person and paying for the appropriate (automatically granted) mechanical licence for a CD release, as well as paying for an online exploitation licence for the clips I put on my site (even though I'd probably get away without it), if I make a video of one track off that CD and want to upload it to Youtube, I am breaking a law that most people break and get away with.
I always thought that in real life legal situations, wherever the law is a bit grey or murky, then any judge might set a ruling based on a precedent. If Youtube is setting itself up as a "judge" of what copyright infringementing videos should be allowed and which ones deleted (sometimes along with the user's whole acount), then this really pisses me off.
As an example, I want to upload my video. It's a cover, but is radically different to the original to the extent that it's almost unrecoginsable), but on the CD I did attribute the author and pay the licence. I have tried to contact the publisher (Warner-Tamerlane) to get permission, but I got no response.
Do I just upload it and wait to see if they are one of the companies who will make Youtube take it down and ban my account, or are they one of the companies who will be happy for the promotion and extra income for them due to increased CD sales?