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Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram & Co. - horak Attorneys at Law, Hanover/ Munich, Germany

The use of the above-mentioned platforms must also take into consideration existing copyright laws. The respective terms of use also apply; this results in a colourful mix of different legal matters, which we will show you in the following text.


As far as concerned the Youtube platform, the most common legal matters are connected to who uploaded the video: these may be the original rights holders, the owners of the right of use or third parties.

In the event of a music video uploaded by the musician´s label, there is at least the possibility that a proper “right of ownership” (which also encompasses the required usage rights) has been agreed. However, if the music video was filmed by someone who went to a concert and then uploaded the filming is considered illegal.

For a music single, several rights have to be into consideration by the participant. The most important aspects which have to be protected (though copyright) are the lyricist and the composers. Often, the performer is neither the lyricist nor the composer. In the case of a filming, the permission of the performing artist is not sufficient, the person recording need to have the authorization of the composer and the lyricist.

In a normal film, the protection of the following parties has to be considered:

  • Author/ screenwriter( own copyrights)
  • Director (own copyrights)
  • Producer (ancillary copyrights)
  • Cameraman (potentially considerable artistic artwork)
  • Sound technician (potentially considerable artistic artwork)
  • Cutter (potentially considerable artistic artwork)
  • Costume designer (as personal creative achievement)
  • Set designer (as personal creative achievement)
  • Movie actor (§§ 73-83 UrhG)
  • Film Publisher 

Many videos/films on Youtube are professionally made and declare several of the aforementioned parties involved in the production. Youtube is also the kigdom of music videos; countless other videos are included, in which simply one actor or several actors are at the same time screen author, director, producer etc.

Apart from the above-mentioned copyright-production issues, the headquarter Youtube LL.C, USA has the last word on what is to be done with the videos (namely, noting but private viewing): See for more information.

In all cases, the following actions are therefore prohibited - either for copyright reasons or due to the conditions of use:

  • Screenshot of a video and / or storage of an extract / image and / or publication of this latter;
  • Publication of a song on Youtube, taken from the radio, from a CD, a file or somewhere else, if the copywriter, composer and (!) the copyright owner (such as the label) did not agree to the publication;
  • Publication of external videos, in which not all participants have previously given the consent;
  • Remixing a someonelse´s song and uploading to Youtube, without the consent of the rights owners;
  • Transferring parts of someone else’s video or a song without the consent of the rights holders; Even in the case of strong changes, a single tone (in special cases) is sufficient for the BGH, so that even short sequences can be considered copyright infringement;
  • Takeover of works (e.g. text, composition, dramaturgy, pictures) without the consent of the copyright owners.

Unless consent is given by an authorized person, the person using/reproducing/publishing third parties products has no rights compared to the legal owner.

Pinterest, Instagram and further pics/photographs portals

“Photographical works” are photographs protected from copyrights and are considered a personal intellectual creation.

The mere so-called “snapshot” is, on the other hand, not a “photographical work”, but a merely visual image and can be protected as ancillary copyright. This theoretically important distinction does generally not play an important role in legal matters, since in both cases essentially the same legal consequences apply.

In both cases the photographer is therefore entitled to comprehensive rights of his photos.

Who decides to upload a photo has to make sure that:

  • The uploading party must have the corresponding rights of use for the public reproduction of the photo because (for example) he was himself the photographer or was authorized to do so by the photographer.
  • The image/photo must have been legally taken; the photographer must have been allowed to take this photo and (!) has to own the rights of use in order to publicly reproduce it (Please visit our website:  to have more details).


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