copyrights problem


I'm thinking to build an android and iPhone app, with short jokes, phrases from movies. The length of the jokes is 2-3 seconds maximum.

I don't plan to make any money from this app(by advertising or any other method), but i think I'm not allowed to use parts of movies.

Is there any way of using parts(sounds/voices) from movies but to not have troubles. The thing is that are some movies(friends, big bang theory, seinfeld, 2.5 men), which i like to listen their jokes when i'm in subway or something. I'm software engineer an I'm capable to build such an app.

Copyright Android

asked Dec 31 '11 at 01:50
Dole Doug
141 points

2 Answers


Probably not. While fair use allows people to use other people's copyrighted material, it is only under certain conditions (parody, news, etc). Check out this from the Copyright Office. Taking someone else's materials for no other reason than to share how funny it is probably doesn't meet any of the fair use exceptions. The length of the clips would probably not matter in this case.

Also, allowing others to upload the content and trying to use the DMCA safe harbor provisions may not protect you either. If you are asking people to upload infringing content, you would probably not be protected (See the Limewire lawsuit ).

answered Dec 31 '11 at 12:39
Stephen Burch
915 points


There are no rules or limitation about how someone or a company can go about protecting their copyrights so it is a very shaky ground to stand on. But, you can protect yourself somewhat by:
1. keep the clips short, not longer than 30 seconds. Long time ago there was something about fair use of materials if clips are 30 sec. or shorter but that might be old now, anyway keep them as short as possible.
2. create a way for general public to upload their content. This way you become and aggregator of the content, kinda like youtube. Ideally you would not get involved in filtering of the content because then you take on responsibility for anything that slips through the cracks.
3. Have a clear DMCA policy and respond quickly to any DMCA notices.

answered Dec 31 '11 at 02:38
120 points

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Copyright Android