I uploaded some of my home movies to YouTube for family members to watch but there were a few songs in there which YouTube said were copyrighted. The only music in there was the theme song from the old Mission Impossible but there's not arguing with Google. So they muted the whole video. Fine, thems the rules.

Are there any other options for hosting a video like that for private viewing (even though I had the Youtube video set to "private") and thus allow copyright music to be in the video?

(I assume that putting copyright music into a home movie, not for distribution beyond my immediate family falls under Fair Use and that the issue is that YouTube is under a lot of pressure to avoid copyright issues... but I'm hot trying to broadcast this to 100's of people. Maybe 10 or so. But just trying to avoid burning DVDs for them.

  • How are you going to guarantee that it is for home use/family use only? If it is on the Internet the usual understanding is that it is effectively public, so copyright holders will still be able to issue takedown notices - which is what worries hosting companies.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Dec 17, 2013 at 23:16
  • 3
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about audio/video production, but about ways to get around copyright rules.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Dec 17, 2013 at 23:17
  • 5
    I'm not sure the question is about circumventing the copyright rules. If the rules are there to disallow public distribution of copyrighted material, then, as the title says, the OP is just looking for options to avoid stepping outside the rules... not circumvent them. A fine distinction perhaps, but a real one I think.
    – JoshP
    Dec 18, 2013 at 13:14
  • This question isn't about getting around copyright rules: US copyright laws allow the public to use an author's works for non-commercial purposes or purposes that do not infringe on the author's rights to earn income from his or her works; it's called fair use. YouTube, Vimeo and pretty much all other online services ignore those laws because they are in danger of attack by media industries. Jul 11, 2014 at 1:02
  • It might seem that way, and I agree that youtube is erring too much on the side of copyright holders. However you can always dispute the copyright claim and state it as fair use. Answer these 4 questions: 1. What are you doing with the copyrighted content? 2. What is the nature of the copyrighted content you are using? 3. How much of the original content are you using? 4. Will your work serve as a substitute for the original?
    – eLouai
    Jul 11, 2014 at 6:33

5 Answers 5


On youtube, I would just contest the copyright holders.

For it to be fair use you need to be able to ask these 4 questions (not all 4 need to be good to be fair use):

1. What are you doing with the copyrighted content? If you are doing something highly transformative with the content then you will have more room under the fair use doctrine. You are more likely to be covered if you are saying something quite different from what the original creator was trying to say.

2. What is the nature of the copyrighted content you are using? Use of creative or fictional content (for example, a film or cartoon) is less frequently allowed under fair use than less creative, non-fictional material.

3. How much of the original content are you using? You should be careful to use a reasonable amount. Just use enough of the copyrighted content as you need to in order to get your point across.

4. Will your work serve as a substitute for the original? If your video will take away views or sales from the original then it is less likely to be covered under fair use. Additionally, you shouldn’t create work that occupies markets that copyright owners are entitled to exploit.

The thing you need to realize is EVEN if you are fair use, the copyright holders can still sue you and the courts will then need to decide if your usage of the material constitute fair use. Home movies are protected by fair use. Feel free to contest them, but again depending on length and use, see court case of a 29 second home video, Lenz vs Universal

Now the other issue is that contentID system was abused by the rights holders and there recently has been pushback by youtube.

"YouTube also is noting that it had updated its ContentID tools to try to avoid some of the excessive takedowns associated with it. For one thing, it appears that "certain rightsholders" are being asked "to perform in-depth audits of their references before they can make any new claims." Reading between the lines, that sounds like YouTube is hitting back at rightsholders who have abused ContentID. That sounds good, though we'll have to see how it plays out in practice. YouTube is also making it easier to pull out incidental audio in videos that might trigger a ContentID claim, improving the way MCNs can "fast track" a response to claims they think are bogus, and is promising to more aggressively investigate ContentID abuse."

Source: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140326/08003126688/youtube-finally-admits-it-totally-screwed-up-rolling-out-contentid-to-multi-channel-networks-trying-to-improve-tools.shtml


You can use a file storage service like:

  • DropBox
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft SkyDrive
  • Apple iCloud

You can restrict access of your files there to a handful of persons.

For example on Google Drive, when you share a file with some people, it asks you for their email addresses. It then sends an email to all those people with a "secret" link. In theory, this link is still public. But in practice, it is next to impossible to guess the value of those links.

Personally, I use Google Drive. It offers an initial 15 Gb of space.

  • That wouldn't allow streaming, right? Jan 4, 2014 at 22:51
  • Some services like Dropbox (and I think Box, too) transcode uploaded videos and offer in-page streaming. Not quite YouTube, but also policed far less. ;-) Apr 30, 2014 at 16:30

You could host the videos yourself.

I use a piece of software called Plex. Basically, you set up a media server at home, which you can then share with people by sending them an invite.

In effect, you're giving people passworded access to your media server. You can even choose which videos are shared with which people by creating categories, and then giving access to only certain categories.

The videos are never really public.


This is really the same question as any private distribution and is dependent on the hosting provider's TOS.

Personally, I use my own web server to host the files for download by friends and put a password on the download (or simply hide the link). A simple web hosting package with enough space would allow for this. They could even watch it as they download if you encode for "progressive download".

You could also use a service like DropBox and share the file to your friends. It wouldn't allow streaming playback, but it would allow you to get the file to your family.

You could also try looking at other services to see if their TOS allow for private sharing that includes content such as that. I don't know much about the TOS for streaming sites though since I self-host all my stuff.


Vimeo seems to be more supportive of Fair Use.

My video is private. It's a non-commercial home movie.

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