The CNN intro is copyrighted

What do I have to consider when uploading third-party content?

YouTube, MySpace & Co have tons of content that the person who put it on the Internet did not create themselves. Protected “content” (more precisely: works) are pieces of music, films, texts, television programs, computer programs, graphics and much more in the context of copyright law.

Anyone who uses such third-party content should be aware that copyright law lays down strict rules for this. It is true that private use is often permitted without the consent of the rights holder. The so-called private copy barrier allows you to record television programs, to copy CDs (if they do not have copy protection) or to download documents from the Internet. However, anyone who makes private copies may only use them in the private sphere, i.e. in the closer circle of friends and family. Watching a DVD with friends is therefore no problem. Neither did he put together a sampler for his sister and give it for Christmas. It is also allowed to watch videos on YouTube, regardless of whether they were posted legally or illegally on the video platform. Because the mere view of a work (unlike a download under certain circumstances) is unproblematic in terms of copyright.

Ask first, then put it online!

Uploading recorded television programs to YouTube, on the other hand, is just as prohibited as making music files from a CD or from the Internet available for download in a file sharing platform such as eDonkey. Because these are not permitted private uses, but "public accessibility" that can only be made by those who have the necessary rights for this. This applies even if - as is always the case with the use of Web 2.0 services and file sharing sites - no commercial interests are being pursued. It also makes no difference whether the third-party content is freely accessible online anyway or whether the rights holder (provider or author) is himself commercially or non-commercially active. Even if it may not make sense at first glance: In the vast majority of cases, putting a text from another website onto your own requires the consent of the author. If you want to refer to the text, you should set a hyperlink, because this is not a copyright infringement. Even though copyright law is of course much more complex in detail, there is a simple rule that almost always applies: If you want to put other people's works online, you have to ask the rights holder. No matter whether on YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, StudiVZ, in the blog, forum, wiki or in a swap forum. Those who do not ask for consent risk warnings, lawsuits or even criminal prosecution.

However, there is also a lot of content to be found on the Internet, the use of which was permitted by the authors without having to ask again. Such content - there is music, texts, photos and even entire films - is called "open contents" (or "free content"). They are under a free license, which means that their creators have released them for general use. You can often tell from the CC logo whether a piece of music or a photo is under such a license.

A click on the logo leads to a Creative Commons website, which explains in simple terms what you can do with the respective content and which rules you have to adhere to.

Another way to get "free content" is, for example, license-free image databases such as www.pixelio.de or www.photocase.com.