How to share videos responsibly

Your Facebook friends will agree that the bit from last night’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is just too funny. Simply press share and continue scrolling for more share-worthy clips. It seems so innocent. Yet, you could be violating copyright laws.

According to Stanford University Libraries, “You should always start with the presumption that, if the creative work you want to use was first published after 1922, U.S. copyright law protects it.”

Copyright law allows only the holder to reproduce work, develop work based on the original, distribute copies to the public (as in share on Facebook), and display work publicly or perform it. These laws are intended to keep anyone but the holder from taking credit for the work or making money on it. Since you obviously aren’t taking credit for Sam Bee’s show and aren’t making money on your innocent Facebook share, what could be the harm?

Fair play
“The problem is,” writes Michelle Castillo of, “GIFs can be used to grow affinity for a publication, which, in turn, can be monetized. On the flip side, viral moments can be leveraged for advertising opportunities by the creator of the original content.”

You see some celebrity sites will post other people’s videos to garner traffic so that they, in turn, can sell their own brand. So how can you avoid becoming an accomplice? Before you share, look at the origin of the video. Will that click take you to view the video on, where “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” resides, or a pirate site? Avoid sharing videos from pirate sites.

Whose tube?
If you are copying from YouTube, use the embed code that they provide. Rob Price says that YouTube monitors for infringing content, matching uploaded videos against a database of registered intellectual property. They will then, either remove the offending video or help the holder profit by placing ads. Now you can feel good about sharing.

“The Basics of Getting Permission,” Stanford University Libraries, Copyright and Fair Use,, Accessed 29 January 2017.

Castillo, Michelle, “Are viral sports GIFs violating ‘fair use’?, 13 October 2015,, Accessed 29 January 2017.

Price, Rob, “Facebook’s new video business is awash with copyright infringement and celebrities are some of the biggest offenders,” 6 May 2015,, Accessed 29 January 2017

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