The context of the following question was an email conversation that about downloading YouTube videos, shortening them, and using them in animoto. I highlighted the question.
I think it’s OK to do that with a YouTube video [one she downloaded]. Do you know anything about it? I’m not changing the content only shortening it. Info. I have about copyright laws from the Canadian Council of Christian Charities says there is an exception for YouTube etc. videos in 2012 and you can use them to create other work as long as it meets criteria and says what that is. Non-commercial purposes, info. about original mentioned if reasonable, it doesn’t infringe copyright, not a substitute for original and not a substantial negative impact on markets for original material. I used www.keepvid.com to download the video. Hopefully all OK. It’s not easy getting exactly what I want.
To answer the question, I tried to get access to the copyright laws from the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and was unable to do so because I am not a member.
However, regardless of the opinion of that group, I researched the question, "Is it illegal to download YouTube videos?"
The short answer is "yes" it is illegal. No question about it.
First I'll share the resources that support my conclusion that come from YouTube and a secular and then Christian web . In addition to sharing the sources that answer the question of legality, included are opinions of a couple of online commentators and finally some comments that I believe should be important to all of us a Christian communicators.
From: YouTube answers
In general, downloading videos that other people have posted on YouTube is not allowed. However, you can download MP4s of your own uploads.
From: PC Advisor website (good quotes of original Terms of Service)
Consider the fact that lots of the people who create YouTube videos rely on the money they make from the adverts displayed on their clips. And downloading video from YouTube does breach Google's terms of service, too. Within Section 5.1 it states: "YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service, subject to the following express conditions, and you agree that your failure to adhere to any of these conditions shall constitute a breach of these Terms on your part: you agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Player, or other means as YouTube may explicitly designate for this purpose. See also: How to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPod touch.
"You agree not to access Content for any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Service, and solely for Streaming. "Streaming" means a contemporaneous digital transmission of the material by YouTube via the Internet to a user operated Internet enabled device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and not intended to be downloaded (either permanently or temporarily), copied, stored, or redistributed by the user.
"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 licensers of the Content."
In other words, you are permitted to view YouTube video only through Google's own website and apps.
From: www.communicatejesus.com website
I thought I’d check out the CCLI (Christian Copyright) website to see what they had to say about churches using YouTube clips. The only article I could find was from 2008 entitled – ‘Playing it safe – internet content and copyright‘and it said,
Steve Fogg wrote in with the following comment:
“…it is actually illegal to play this kind of thing [YouTube videos] in a church service or public space unless you have written authorization from the ORGINAL copyright holder
Which means if people who put together videos for YouTube sample vision or sound from somewhere else you need their expressed written permission.
CCLI who give license for music offer video license for most major movies which gives you rights to play a clip for a sermon. Outside of this, if you don’t know created the video or don’t have their express permission as copyright holders it is breaking many intellectual property laws and could break a small churches bank totally as fines for these kinds of thing are massive.”
A troubling trend in many of the answers
Because I did not want to cause confusion, I quoted the resources above that made clear, statements about the stated legality of the practice.
However, those were not the only kind of answers I found that were similar the one above, that after clearly stating it was illegal and against terms of service to download the videos, had a link to an article for how to download them to your iphone or ipad. Did you notice that? I had to reread it several times, because I couldn't believe that after telling people it was illegal to do this, they gave a link to an article that told you how to do it. In addition, the one below is typical of many others:
From: Yahoo answers
Well if it's music or music videos that you don't own, then yes it's technically illegal, but if you use a YouTube downloader or Keepvid.com to transfer them, nobody's going to know anyways.
The idea that yes it was illegal to download videos, but "nobody's going to know" so it is OK to do what is illegal if you don't get caught, was a common theme in the answers to the question and is sadly a common theme for so much digital content today.
But for the Christian communicator who seeks to honor God in all his or her work, it isn't OK.
But we must always remind ourselves that we are doing what we do to honor our Lord and advance His kingdom and that isn't always easy. The hosts of heaven are watching us.
Reminder of a temptation long ago, but one that always returns
In situations like this I always remember when I was first starting out in desktop publishing. Young Life, where I worked as senior editor, had shut down their in-house communication program. I was on my own, single, and desperately poor. I was making my living as a Christian free-lance designer and the resources I needed to do my job were very expensive. At that time, my laser printer cost about $5,000 and individual typefaces cost hundreds of dollars. To do freelance work I needed more than the few that came with my Mac and someone offered to give me a pirated copy of the entire Adobe type library for free.
I am ashamed to admit I had to think about it overnight before I turned her down.
Today when more typefaces than we want or need junk up our hard drives, it's hard to imagine how difficult that decision was, but I now suspect it was far more important to the health of my soul than it was to the health of my financial state. Typefaces might be free today, but there is always something that tempts us to betray what we know isn't right for reasons that make perfectly good sense when we are tired and stressed to finish a job.
Money is still an issue (You mean I have to PAY for clip art? Every year???), but so is time (You mean I have to look for hours for something legal when I can find, download and paste any image I want from Google in minutes?). Since both are in short supply, I have lots of excuses to cheat--or so it is always easy to tell myself that.
But as I thought back then and have to still remind myself today: how can I do the Lord's work with stolen tools?
The question isn't trivial because, as C. S. Lewis reminds us:
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
It is not a small, insignificant decision whether to follow copyright and fair usage rules or not as you create church communications.We don't get a pass because we are tired, stressed, or didn't have the time—all of that is a given in ministry. Our work involves the eternal destiny of the souls entrusted to the care of our church or ministry. The little decisions we make as we do our work will be reflected in the quality and integrity of the result and in how the Lord will use it. As much as is possible, in everything we do, we need to remember:
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21
We want to be clean vessels so that the Lord can use us and bless the work we create to help people come to know Jesus and to grow into maturity in Him. Ultimately the success of our communication work never depends on time or money saved, never by "might or power" but always by the blessing of His Holy Spirit, who touches hearts and changes lives through the communications we create for Him.
A tool to help us in our work
There are many tools today that can help us do our work in time and cost-saving ways and one of my favorites is: animoto. This program is so easy to use, very powerful and free. CLICK HERE to go to an article that illustrates some vidoes made with it as well as a short video on how to use the program.
If you have a question, ask me! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Just as the church communicator did who was the inspiration for this article did. I have a number of other questions that are in the pipeline to answer in articles in the coming week and I want to do this regularly. Send questions about any aspect of church communications to: email@example.com. I can't guarantee how quickly I will get to the answer, or if I will answer it with an article, but I will read all of them and send you a private response.