Brooklyn, NY asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for New York

Q: Can I convert youtube video to audio, transcribe the audio & post them on my website with original video link/embed?

- To transcribe, I first need to convert the video to audio. And then use some automated service.

- I will include original video as link and/or embedded

- I won't store the audio. Audio is needed just for transcribing and will be discarded later (& will not be shared publicly)

- The transcripts will be available to public (may or may not require registration)

- Transcript will be editable by "users" like wikipedia so people can edit corrections


- We'll put a youtube link to our system, it'll download the video from youtube, convert to mp3 or such, and then create a transcript from them, publish that on our website.

1 Lawyer Answer
John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Milford, CT
  • Licensed in New York

A: Reading about copyright on the website is a good place to read about copyright. There are circulars which explain many issues. Below are some sections of copyright law.

“Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: … (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work” 17 U.S.C. 106

“A ‘derivative work’ is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted.” 17 U.S.C. 101

Having a lawyer review your specific facts, even more than what you described, would be prudent. Retaining a lawyer will provide an attorney client relationship so true legal advice can be given. This should be followed by a formal consult so the lawyer knows all the facts, so the lawyer can analyze the facts and apply the facts to the law, and then give an answer which can be relied on. Answers on legal answer boards are not a substitute for hiring a lawyer.

This answer includes generalizations and there are many caveats. Consult an intellectual property attorney to obtain a legal analysis.

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