So I was recently asked whether you can use a YouTube video as filler in a conference setting.  Curious, I began by looking at Youtube’s Terms of Use to find out exactly what it said about the use of its content by users and found this:

“You may access Content for your information and personal use solely…  You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content.”

With that in mind, I wondered whether displaying the content at a conference would fall into the “broadcast” or “display” categories.  When I think of broadcasting something, I think of allowing the general public or a large group to watch it.  Therefore, it would depend on the specific setting and what was being used.  In the display category, again I think the same factors would apply.

What this case proves to me is that each copyright case is very specific.  Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all to determine whether display of a video from YouTube, i.e. using copyrighted materials, violates the license in the copyright granted to the user through the Terms of Use.  Therefore, the best thing to do is always ask permission from the copyright holder and get the permission in writing!  Only by doing this case you know that you have permission to use it.

If you are a small business owner who is looking for help with copyrights, please call me, your Denver small business lawyer, at 720-258-6647 or