Questionably bootlegged films on youtube

Anyone who goes to youtube and searches the phrase “full movie” can see that there are plenty of full movies available to watch there for free, and some of them are pretty decent. My question is whether it is okay to watch these. A few considerations come to mind:

  1. Take-down notices are a big part of youtube, and when a company notices a film of theirs that is on there, they may file a take-down notice and youtube is required to remove it. Arguably, movie companies are giving tacit permission to youtube to host the movies that are there, by not issuing any take-down notices for those ones, while issuing them for other ones. Is that a good argument?

  2. Some films are definitely there with the permission of the copyright holder, because youtube has a “movies” section at and they only place movies there in cooperation with the copyright holder. They use advertising and a pay-per-view service to compensate the copyright holder in a similar way to what hulu does. Arguably, movie companies have made it clear what movies they think are authorized to watch online by putting them in the “movies” section, and any others on youtube are unauthorized, and therefore bootlegged/pirated/immoral. Is that a good argument?

  1. is not a good argument. My company works with some of the best copyright attorneys in the country and here’s the problem: as soon as you send out a bunch of takedown notices, someone else posts the same thing a little later, sometimes even the same day.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but contact any legal department in Hollywood and ask them. Don’t assume that it’s kinda OK because it’s not. My company issues takedown notices all the time and the same items end up reappearing elsewhere or on the same site a little later. Billions of dollars are being lost by the entertainment industry every time WeSs775632 puts something up on youtube without their permission.


That’s very helpful, Ed. Thanks for bringing it up from an insider’s perspective.

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