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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 118087
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Rights on videos taken in Canada, Canadian citizen

Customer Question

Rights on videos taken in Canada, Canadian citizen requesting they be taken down.
Hello! About a year ago I was studying improvisational theater at a famous school. As part of our training, we had shows for the public-- all improvised material. I personally video recorded these public performances (after getting the verbal OK from all members of the class) and put them up on my YouTube page. These performances and their public availability on YouTube are important to me professionally because directors and others can see them there. Fast forward to this week (a year after I put them up on YouTube): One of the women in the class and in two of the videos has requested that I remove them from YouTube (she said she has a new job and her boss wants her to take them down.) I don't want to take them down. I have a couple questions here:
(1) Am I legally required to take them down? I am not profiting from them directly. (Meaning, I have not monitized the videos or put ads in them). I don't know the law. From what I could glean reading on the internet, it is very murky. I mean, if you are in a public location, then some places say that it is legal for anyone to take your video. Others say that performances are different and that you can't take video. (Also, I'm American, but the videos were taken in Canada, and the woman who wants them taken down is Canadian.) And, since the material is entirely improvised, there is a question of copyright, I guess--- I mean, the woman in question "wrote" all the material she performed, as did I. It's very confusing.
(2) Would YouTube require me to take them down? I mean, are their rules different than the law?
Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Under both US and Canadian laws the production company of a public performance has a mechanical copyright in that performance. So, for example, if you take a video in a public setting where you have a legal right to be, the performance itself has a copyright in that performance and the performers or production company have to give written permission to use the video. So, while you had verbal consent of each performer to video the performance, posting it online can still violate the mechanical rights in the performance of the production company.
Legally, under the copyright treaty between the US and Canada, they can pursue infringement claims for you publishing the video online that is protected by the copyright laws in Canada. So as they have performed the work, you would need written consent from the production company to publish that performance and that is separate from the rights of the writer of the works to assert their copyrights in the written performance.
Now the reality is whether or not they will spend the money it will cost to come to the US and file a copyright infringement suit in the US Court where you are located to get personal jurisdiction over you. That is the unknown. YouTube will remove the offending works pursuant to a DMCA takedown request but if you object and assert rights in the work, then they would not get involved further and it would be up to the other party to sue you within 10 days of the DMCA notice to prevent continued display of the video.
So the woman who is giving performance in the video can assert mechanical rights over her performance and without written consent it legally does violate her mechanical performance copyrights in her performance.