How can I make a video on Youtube using a licensed product without getting sued?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I make a video on Youtube using a licensed product without getting sued?

I want to make a commercial just a short video for my Youtube channel, no

monetary compensation involved. How can I do this without being at risk for any legal repercussions?

Asked on August 30, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You don't use a licensed product, not without permission from the rights holder. Even if there is no monetary compensation involved, the ability to use someone else's licensed characters or images or content legally is very limited, and larger rights holders (who have money and lawyers) can be very aggressive in taking action against those who they feel violate their rights--they figure that even if they lose, the act of taking legal action itself will deter violations.
Make up something similar to the licensed product you want to use--similar, but not so close as to be obviously the licensed product in a thin disguise--and use that. To use a silly, comic-book example--if you were intending on using Marvel's "Thor," come up instead with your own comic-book looking version of Zeus, Thunderbird, or some other lighting god.

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