Collinsville, IL asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Illinois

Q: I am building an ecommerce website similar to Amazon, allowing third-party sellers, etc.

For the media items, like movies & tv shows, I have embedded trailers from YouTube into the listings. According to YouTube, as long as videos are embedded and not copy & pasted, this is perfectly acceptable, allowable, and legal, found here: .

I am just inquiring to confirm that I am not missing something. I am a professional author and musician and have published books and music of my own, and I know intellectual law can be a touchy subject with a lot of gray area. Before I launch my website and risk possible asinine retaliatory actions, I need to get clarification. Please advise. Thank you.

1 Lawyer Answer
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: If you have created a successful business, you're going to get silly/aggressive/unfounded accusers, just be ready and have a good lawyer on retainer to deal with such issues as they arise.

As for embedding YouTube videos onto your own website (for profit), this is a common question. Much of it depends on HOW you're doing so. That's because trademark rights might be affected (i.e. tarnishment, false association, etc.). Then there's copyright, which also doesn't have a clear answer without further details about what content you're linking (i.e. non-public domain copyrighted content). The URL you cite merely shows you how to embed, not whether you're legally clear to do so. What you really need is a clearance opinion from a lawyer who has the full details of what videos are being used, and how they're being embedded.

Bottom line: if you're starting a business, allocate part of your startup capital for legal advice on this topic, as well as making sure you're forming the business so that your personal assets are not at risk and that you have an optimal tax strategy in place. Good luck!

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