Why did your highlight video get deleted from YouTube?
I’ve produced 3 stage plays, 2 short films, and one feature film over the course of a mini-career and as a producer I gleaned a very good understanding of Copyright Laws and how they affect film productions as well as music titles. Additionally, as a professional photographer, I am vigilant about protecting the copyright of my work and subsequently other artist works as well.
I know what you are thinking. “What does this have to do with my student-athlete and why is there an entire article written about it?” I’m glad you asked.
In this article, I aim to answer the above question as well as demonstrate through practical applications how copyright issues affect student-athletes and the general public at large. You will learn what a copyright is, who owns copyrights, how people violate copyright, and how it can negatively affect student-athletes.
“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. “Copyright” literally means the right to copy. The term has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to authors for protection of their work. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and, in the case of certain works, publicly perform or display the work; to prepare derivative works; in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission; or to license others to engage in the same acts under specific terms and conditions.” 
In short order, the description given by the copyright office can be summed up like so, If you created it, you own it. If you did not create it, you do not own it. There are certain exceptions to the rule such as works made for hire and intellectual property rights as it pertains to how companies manage their business productions and trade secrets. For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on photographs, music, and video.
When someone takes a photograph with a cell phone whomever takes the picture, whether it be a still photo, or a motion picture such as an .mp4 clip, owns the copyright. As the creator of the viral photo or viral video, you have a say in how and where your item is to be distributed. Unfortunately, we are living in a world where everything is “liked” or “shared” at the blink of an eye. But even in an Instagram world, the creator is still the owner of the copyright and therefore, the images/videos/music that they produce ought not be utilized without the creators express consent.
In an article posted on the Money.CNN website titled “Instagram can now sell your photos for ads” posted on December 12, 2012, author Julianne Pepitone elaborated on a decision by the Instagram leaders to sell photos that it’s users posted to their website. They indicated that Instagram had the right to sell the photographs and digital images without compensating the creators of the photos, it’s users. This decision by Instagram, which at the time was newly acquired by facebook, set off a hail storm of revolts that eventually led the executives to rescind that order several months later.
At most sporting events one is sure to spot a photographer in the audience snapping pics seemingly non-stop. These photographers can be hired by the event directors, by parents, or may even be shooting pictures for their own works. Whatever the case is, they are the copyright owners of the images they produce and have a say-so in how the images are distributed. Many times, professional photographers will watermark their images with their logo and place them on their website. Once they have posted them to their websites potential clients can then browse the photographs and purchase images without their watermark. If you buy an image from a photographer, make sure you know how you can distribute and display their image. If you have a MaxPreps photo with MaxPreps plastered across the center of the image, this is an indicator that you did not pay for the image and have no license agreements with the MaxPreps photographer who took the image. I strongly discourage you from displaying this image without the photographers permission. The watermark is usually an indicator that the item is a proof and not necessarily prepared for sale.
Q: Which Copyright doctrine allows me to utilize the MaxPreps photo above with confidence?
A: Fair Use. 
How do student-athlete’s violate copyright and how can it negatively affect them?
When a student-athlete or someone on their behalf, creates a highlight video, they are producing a mini-movie. Although it is not necessary, many would be producers will add music to the videos. Although this adds great style and flare, it is not a necessity. If individuals choose to add music to the videos, they should ensure that the music is cleared of copyright and or they have licenses to use an artist music within their videos. If an individual utilizes the music of an artist without compensating that artist, they face possible legal ramifications.
According to SproutSocial.com Youtube is the most popular video-sharing website for businesses. The directors of Youtube are very aware of copyright infringement and before an individual uploads a video, they are asked a series of questions and one of those questions is to clarify whether or not they own the copyright to the music or works that they are displaying on their channel. Many videos are uploaded immediately and seemingly without a problem. But occasionally, Youtube gets wind of an unauthorized use of copyrighted material. They will then send a notice indicating that the user has uploaded a video with a copyrighted work and will ask you to confirm whether you are the author of said works. Sometimes, the author of the Copyrighted material will notify Youtube to take down the video immediately.
If you are the author, you can keep it. If you are not, they will ask you to delete it or they will delete it for you.
One of the best calling cards a student-athlete can use to promote themselves is their highlight video. It would be a disaster if a student-athlete were to have a coach’s attention and that coach actually took the time to go to their Youtube video only to find that the video was deleted or the account was no longer active. Do you think the coach is going to take the time to call the student-athlete and ask for the correct link? I don’t know about you, but I would not want to take the chance.
How can you avoid the pitfalls of having your video deleted?
- Post photos and videos that you personally produced or have permission to use. Avoid using other peoples materials without permission.
- Do not use copyrighted music unless you have permission to do so. If you require music for your productions, multiple websites host many artist who want you to use their music in your videos. Most of them only want you to give them credit for their creative work if you choose to use it. 
- Do not publish copyrighted music to the internet unless you are willing to take the risk that your videos will be deleted or your accounts terminated due to copyright violations.
When in doubt err on the side of caution and leave other peoples music out of your videos.
[note note_color=”#ffe340″ text_color=”#010200″]  “United States Copyright Office – A Brief Introduction and History.” Copyright.Gov. Circular 1. Web. 10 April 2014.
 “United States Copyright Office – Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code.” Copyright.Gov. Circular 92. § 107 . Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. Web. 24 April 2014.
 List of Creative Common Websites (legal music for your videos) HERE!
Maury “Super M@uryo” Osbourne is a former Marine, an Award Winning Film Producer, a fantastic photographer and a pretty nice guy. He runs SpotlightME.tv and works relentlessly to be successful at his business. You can reach him at 602.703.2638.