Is it legal to show an album on a Youtube Video?


Im currently working on a channel on Yt which does album reviews and I've gone from just speaking to do it in person on webcam and I am hoping at some point to go for a Yt partnership as I've always been good at bringing people in on good music.

Though I am well aware I can not obtain this privelage while I have videos with the actual album art in them or songs which I would no doubt remove these videos.

But during my webcam videos I wish to just briefly show the album (not songs) but the actual album itself if you don't quite get what I mean here is a link of a video of which I done doing this. So I was thinking if that is not legal than just about anything you possess and show (even without trying) would be illegal for example your wearing a branded shirt in your video so you can not go for the Yt Program because the design does not specifically belong to you, there is a painting on your wall which you bought, you have a poster in the background ect.

the requirements for the program are the following from Youtube.

To become a YouTube Partner, you must meet these minimum requirements:
•You create original videos suitable for online streaming.
•You own or have express permission to use and monetize all audio and video content that you upload—no exceptions.
•You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users, or you publish popular or commercially successful videos in other ways (such as DVDs sold online).

Please note: all uploaded videos are subject to the YouTube Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.

Im confident that I do not breach any of the following with the video that I had posted above ^
But I feel that I am better off grabbing more opinions than just my own.

So fello Q/A'ers is this legal?

Legal Video Copyright Partnerships Music

asked May 3 '11 at 11:12
8 points
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  • Why don't you ask YouTube? – Susan Jones 13 years ago
  • Curious how on earth do you access the community? When ever I search it up I seem to have no luck im just told about what you can do on Yt ect. and if I wish to make an account. – Keepinitcore 13 years ago

4 Answers


Well if you have tried contacting them and aren't playing the actual content only promoting albums then you could try the asking for forgiveness tactic.

  • write an email saying "can I do X, please tell me if it's an issue, I intend to start on Y date" ... Thus they know
  • continue on as stated, if they ask resend the email with the date.

BUT ensure your not crossing copyright directly with a lawyer first ... If you know one the cheapest way is to clarify it over lunch or a drink or two.

answered May 3 '11 at 20:27
Robin Vessey
8,394 points
  • Sounds fair though please make sure to check out what I am doing in my video if you havent done so I feel if I can be triggered for copyright by just doing this then you can be targetted for just about anything as I said above. Though your answer sounds reasonable as I am only really promoting albums I won't be playing any music from them I have a whole different channel for album uploadings ect. – Keepinitcore 13 years ago
  • So kinda Metal Waynes World - Geezus, showing my age. I think showing a CD that you have purchased is probably fine, if it were my CD I would be happy someone cared, unlike the band I was in where no one did :) . Not sure if the tshirts are offical or your own design ... as long as their not rip off again probably ok. (but again not a lawyer) – Robin Vessey 13 years ago


IANAL but the album cover should fall under fair use guidelines. Specifically, it does not infringe upon the copyright holder's abilities (in fact you can easily argue the opposite). Indeed, your usage would be a "fair and reasonable criticism".

That said, while fair use is an affirmative defense against a copyright infringement suit, it does not prevent YouTube from taking these videos down or the copyright holder from bringing a suit, should they wish.

answered May 4 '11 at 00:53
Rein Henrichs
111 points


Just today our YouTube partnership application got approved. Before you get started showing ads, you have to agree to their terms. They are very particular about any kind of "borrowed" content be it music, images, a 5 sec clip of 3rd party video, lyrics of a song written by someone else even if you give attribution. The content should be solely created by you or you should have 100% rights for the content.

Bottom line is -

If you think your content may be
violating YouTube's content, it is.

These terms are applicable for YouTube partner videos though. I think they have relaxed rules for normal youTube videos. You can find many videos -uploaded by fans- with famous songs having 100K+ views and are not being removed by YT.

As for your specific case, in my opinion, it may not qualify for partnership program but as others suggested you can always ask them. (expect a delayed response though). All the best!

answered May 4 '11 at 03:13
Ankur Jain
566 points
  • I hope you actually viewed the video in the link I placed above please check it because I don't believe I am violating anything also thats a bit rough saying. "If you think your content may be violating YouTubes content, it is." I don't think doubt should define whether your breaking the law or not lol. – Keepinitcore 13 years ago


Wait, so you're asking to show a physical copy of the album and it's subsequent artwork in your Youtube videos? Of course you're allowed to do that, you're not reproducing the CD or its artwork and I would honestly be surprised if you were violating any kind of law or infringing upon anyone's copyright.

answered May 4 '11 at 14:25
Digital Sea
1,613 points
  • Sounds Fair to me mate thank you for the answer. – Keepinitcore 13 years ago
  • No problem brotato. I've been giving this some more thought and even if something were to come of this, it would be fair use for sure. Look n further than online music reviewing communities like Metacritic which use album artwork on their site for album reviews: Sea 13 years ago
  • I see so I assume they either have a deal going on with these record companies/bands or perhaps the companies have decided this isnt even worth looking into as I read a good answer by kekito that he assumes this is very low risk. A few people who answered I can tell did not even watch the video and they're assuming I am uploading the music itself which is defenitley something I am aiming not to do. – Keepinitcore 13 years ago
  • Haha, yeah. I noticed some people didn't really read your question properly. The more I read into this, I can only find references to using an actual copy of the album artwork, not showing a CD cover in a video. Having said that, it appears that using album artwork if it is low quality is considered fair use. LyricWiki has a page on this and they're quite big: - the worse that will happen is you're told not to do it any more, but I doubt that would ever happen. You're safe in my opinion, but I'm no lawyer. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • Also, you're not exactly distributing the album artwork for download, you're showing it and not making a copy of it available for download. Coupled with the fact that if someone wants album artwork they can get it off Google Images anyway because people frequently scan and upload high resolution copies of album artwork frequently. – Digital Sea 13 years ago
  • That makes more than enough sense comrade as it is very easy to obtain album artwork through googling which google provides that service anyway. And yes you are correct I support people buying albums which they do enjoy I do not place any download links within my videos nor will I ever, sure I know I could find any album I want by simply googling a blogspot which frequently uploads albums for downloading. I do upload albums but on an entirely different channel so this channel is not struck over copyright and stopping me in my tracks for the Yt program As you see I occasionally show merch too – Keepinitcore 13 years ago

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