How do I get permissions to use YouTube videos for my own work of "art"?
October 23, 2013 12:10 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about getting permission/releases to use YouTube videos like lectures by Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Noam Chomsky, Alan Watts, and other personages for my own video project? I would be using them for a fictional movie. One of the characters watches these a lot. Is this just something I have to research on an individual basis, or are there any shortcuts I might benefit from knowing about? Thanks. (I feel like I'm always asking the same question in different forms.)
posted by DMelanogaster to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Noam Chomsky generally replies to emails to his MIT address, which is on his website. You would need to establish who is the owner of the videos and approach each to find out what they would charge per second of footage.
posted by parmanparman at 12:24 PM on October 23, 2013

Unless there's a series of videos shot by the same person/organization with all these folks in it, then no, there's no shortcut - you'll have to find and contact each person/organization for permission. Tracking down who actually holds the rights might be the hardest part.
posted by rtha at 12:26 PM on October 23, 2013

Does YouTube have user selectable licensing like Flickr does? If so, you may be able to filter a search by commercial use allowable and quickly get some videos you can use without hunting down people to get permission.
posted by COD at 12:48 PM on October 23, 2013

Response by poster: Will have to check, COD.

I wish I could make my question a little more general:

OR should I hire a consultation with a lawyer about all these issues, such as:

I know I could never sing "All you need is Love" on my video without permission, which I could never afford. But If I wanted to sing one line, changed to, "All you need is a 401K and a few good mutual funds" (to the tune -- in this case, it's all on one note -- of All You Need is Love), do I need permission?

I feel as if writing and shooting my planned video is NOTHING compared to all this permission stuff. What is the "standard practice" for amateur video makers who MIGHT just some day want to submit their videos/films to festivals and public showings (even on YouTube) where all the rights have to be in place? It's not just YouTube videos and song lyrics. It's things like shooting the front of a building, shooting random people on the street who might be in the background of my actors (passersby), etc. There are so many issues. I need some sort of General Principles about this.

sorry will not "sit on" question anymore.
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:00 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video can help you start figuring out what copyright related stuff you'll need to seek permission for and what you won't.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 1:18 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

YouTube doesn't license. This is what I do for a living if you want to MeMail me. It's possible your use would be considered "Transformative" but most fiction films don't usually qualify for Fair Use.

You might want to join a film group, like Doculink, to get answers to some of your other questions.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I worked on a documentary that featured "We don't need no education" by Pink Floyd and negotiated for free use by approaching the label directly. I had to learn to do this kind of negotiation but ultimately the experience of overcoming rejection allowed me to raise investment for projects that I synthesized or was recruited to manage.
posted by parmanparman at 2:48 PM on October 23, 2013

DMelanogaster: "I know I could never sing "All you need is Love" on my video without permission, which I could never afford."

IANAL, and I'm pretty sure you're not either. As far as I know, this is not true. In the US, at least, the law effectively says (insert IANAL handwaving here) that anyone can record a cover version.

You should consult a lawyer who actually knows about this stuff.
posted by Lexica at 7:52 PM on October 23, 2013

Response by poster: Lexica, doing research I found out (from a post by a lawyer) that "covers" are audio-only. If you film or videotape somebody singing a "cover" you need explicit permission to put that up on YouTube, show it in a theater, etc.

I will continue my research on specific questions. It is complicated.
posted by DMelanogaster at 3:17 PM on October 24, 2013

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