YouTube's Copyright System Isn't Broken. The World's Is.
Tom Scott
No copyright infringement intended. | Watch Money, my new Nebula Original series, with a 30-day free trial of CuriosityStream:
CAMERA: Jamie Drew
CAMERA: Joe Stone
AUDIO MIX: Graham Haerther
EDITOR: Isla McTear
CAPTIONS: Caption+
1901 Arts Club
The Camera Museum, Soho
Evan Edinger
The Lexi Cinema, Kensal Green
Mandy Celine
Oliver Thorn
Tim Bunn
Leonard French
Devin Stone
Jay Foreman
Joel "Smallishbeans"
Epidemic Sound
Canon in D solo piano recording courtesy of ProstoRecords and Envato Market
Canon in D rock recording courtesy of Kora3000 and Envato Market
Images used under license from
Reb Day
© Pad 26 Limited MMXX

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott

    Yep, 42 minutes of video. This was a big project. Plus: I've got an all-new five-part original series called Money over on Nebula, which you can watch as a bundle with CuriosityStream!

    • Ventus Pri
      Ventus Pri

      IT was a good VIDEO

    • The GoldenKeyboard
      The GoldenKeyboard

      It would've been so ironic if this video got copyright claimed XD

    • A\T Gordon
      A\T Gordon

      Thank you. That was a load of useful information and awesome opinions. But shouldn't you have been censoring the license plates of the cars?

    • Joseph Catrambone
      Joseph Catrambone

      It's okay. This is your best video.

    • André Teixeira
      André Teixeira

      @Hecking Bamboozled Too bad you know nothing about it and let your ideology blind the reason. If you are not afraid of changing or mind or noticing your way of thinking might be wrong, do a short reasearch about Index of Economic Freedom and Economic Freedom of the World.

  • Osvald Lindholm
    Osvald Lindholm

    I hope you answer to this, because I'm genuinely at most curious. If you're not allowed to show album art without criticising it. How is the copyright regarding the Pikachu toy in the background at <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="1692">28:12</a> ?. Doesn't that infringe on copyright? And if it does, does that mean all things (or most) utilities/furnitures/items could be claimed as a designed item and thus have copyright as well? Then one would not be legally allowed to show a video recording of their home. I hope I am wrong, because otherwise everyone is f*cked.

  • Bapple

    mumbo jumbo!!!

    • zijuiy wttuy
      zijuiy wttuy

      just translated as lawful bribing). I hope that change will come if not for us then for our children.

  • Jon Knight
    Jon Knight

    I want a fact/opinion switch in our office meeting rooms! :-)

    • zijuiy wttuy
      zijuiy wttuy

      I have seen many of your video's this is by far the best one. You explain so well how the world deals with this problem now. Sadly the power of change is mostly in the hands

  • nobody5050

    I have gotten so many videos taken down by Nintendo. I don’t earn any money off of their game, I’m not stealing any revenue. Especially on games that are no longer being sold.

  • fuzzy pilot
    fuzzy pilot

    Billion dollar company: makes a song Kid on NOsoft: uses a song that made millons Billon dollar company: so you have chosen death

  • Commandtechno

    Are quotes copyrightable?

  • Michael Brookman
    Michael Brookman

    this was awesome viewing, thanks.

  • René Verberkt
    René Verberkt

    Imagine if the wheel had been copyrighted, we'd all still be in the legal stoneage.

  • Elliott Bork
    Elliott Bork

    Stock photos were great you should make a whole series about them

  • reaktor55

    is there a copyright infringement version of no homo?

  • Anthony Lipke
    Anthony Lipke

    The lawyers and the big companies seem top have authored copy right law with little regard for people and culture. The original principal in the constitution was to encourage arts and sciences. I think its practice is more akin to its English origins in censorship and rent seeking.

  • Austin Bosma
    Austin Bosma

    Dangerously funny is saving me $400 buy play animal crossing

  • ScalyLayde

    love the legal eagle cameo. Also, I realize neither of us are lawyers, but about streaming video games and it's impact on sales- there is an argument to make that it's beneficial. Someone might be more likely to shell out $60-$80 for a game if they know what they're getting. This is the reason some publishers allow free demos of their games in order to discourage piracy, which is logic tells me is more detrimental than youtube videos or free demos are.

  • Cara Carissima
    Cara Carissima

    this is very useful

  • 01sanguinius

    the other problem with jukin was that they weren't always informing the owner of the rights and keeping the money for themselves.

  • Danielle White
    Danielle White

    In the past, a lot of those silly videos made by kids were on VHS or audio cassette tapes, providing for them to escape detection. I used to be on the board of a tech non-profit in the US. We got one through some sort of licensing clearing-house about a web comic that was used on the site. It took us a long time to locate it in a PDF of a presentation that someone put online at some prior point (none of the board members dealing with the complaint had been involved when it was.) Pay it and move on was the answer.

  • Gerd L. Plüü
    Gerd L. Plüü

    The world is indeed broken, but that doesn't automatically make NOsofts content ID system not broken.

  • Felix FTV
    Felix FTV

    <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="1035">17:15</a> none is speaking about the diamonds picked up with a stone pickaxe?????

  • Leon Straathof
    Leon Straathof

    I have seen many of your video's this is by far the best one. You explain so well how the world deals with this problem now. Sadly the power of change is mostly in the hands of corporations who don't want any of these changes. Like always in these types of conflict only can be solved by politicians who do care less about lobbying (which in my book is just translated as lawful bribing). I hope that change will come if not for us then for our children.

  • Paul Hembree
    Paul Hembree

    I think patents and copyright laws should last 100 years.

  • This is gonna sound stupid, but
    This is gonna sound stupid, but

    GIF is pronounced with a hard G in every sense. Graphical is not pronounced Jiraffical.

  • Kring

    Perhaps creators should not have a right to decide how their works are used. My opinion about copyright law is that it should entirely disappear.

  • The Dancing Geese
    The Dancing Geese

    Any body else see the Jay formen cameo?

  • James Ducas
    James Ducas

    Excellent video as always, Tom.

  • Nomecla Absorber
    Nomecla Absorber

    Tom you do not have the right to call hide the pain Harold part of the “nerdy underside of NOsoft” when you make education videos

  • drosera

    i think more people need to think less about legality and more about morality.

    • drosera

      ayyy i commented like halfway, glad to see you mentioned this

  • hopin8krzys

    What a filthy commie propaganda What next, workers rigths? Absurd

  • Not Me
    Not Me

    No one gonna talk about that small peepee car at <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="1935">32:15</a> using his lights wrong? Or do I have the brain capacity of canned tuna? Maybe a combination of both

  • Tim Hawthorn
    Tim Hawthorn

    Thanks for doing this. As you're one of the people who is inspiring me to start making videos, this is probably my biggest worry. I was considering a 'publish and be damned' approach, but you've caused me to revise that. My gut feeling is to stick with content I have created myself or that which is open sourced / creative commons. The tricky bit is finding images of archaeological artefacts which I can't just go and take myself

  • The GoldenKeyboard
    The GoldenKeyboard

    Still waiting for episode 2 of tom reacts

  • Hayabusa Ryuu
    Hayabusa Ryuu

    Legal vampire spoted!

    • The GoldenKeyboard
      The GoldenKeyboard

      I like a good spote

  • SwordBreaker925

    Video game streaming is absolutely fair use. If the law says that my own gameplay is copyright infringement, then the law is wrong. Everyone knows the copyright system is broken and designed to monetarily benefit big corporations, but there's nothing we can do because those companies can bribe politicians into not changing those laws.

  • Hade Chxn
    Hade Chxn

    Dont know why but I genuinely expected a 42min single take.

  • RK Beck
    RK Beck

    Big ups to Legal Eagle and his cameo here, good sense of humour.

  • Exxag

    "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" I kinda expected Tom to scream AHHH back

  • Martin Piggins
    Martin Piggins

    Haha, it good you can laugh at yourself, thanks for the outtakes 👍🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  • nixeh32

    Everyone should watch this, you're a legend Tom!

  • First Name Last Name
    First Name Last Name

    Jay screaming in his cameo is very on brand

  • Bennett Snyder
    Bennett Snyder

    In general this video gets a lot of things right but I do think that it lets NOsoft off the hook in one major way: they should be going to bat for their creators to lobby for a better system. They're the only institution in this debate that has the clout to stand up to legacy rights-holders, and there should be pressure on them to use their resources to protect the people who make the content they make money off of.

  • Balter

    Showing Wendover Production's face hey?

  • Sheng Han
    Sheng Han

    Quite a in depth analysis.

  • F Torrado
    F Torrado

    Please stop, there's some interesting valid points, but your criticism is actually just perpetuating some of the problems with copyright. The whole "winner takes it all" mentality is wrong! Less copyright safeguards is the only way to go

  • Timmy P
    Timmy P

    Having LegalEagle be a vampire was gold

  • Egon

    You are stupid and missing the point. NOsoft's Copyright System IS Broken, and is broken because it does not give creators proper tools to counter false claims. Not the mention: the idea that during dispute money from revenue are going to party claiming the video (instead of being withhold by YT until claim gets resolved) it's extremely stupid.

  • **

    Outstanding analysis. Thanks Tom!

  • Gabby Edgar
    Gabby Edgar

    the reason kids think thats isnt entirely bc theyre entitled i think theyre confusing copyright law with the rules theyve been told in school for what is and isnt plagiarism

  • ORGdotEDU films
    ORGdotEDU films

    I never realized how much NOsoft's Content ID system saves me from copyright strikes and lawsuits. Genuinely scary. I've used songs in videos that, although not monetized, infringed on copyright law, all without knowing so. Really puts the false claims into perspective... huh...

  • ReverendTed

    What I don't like is that copyright, or more specifically NOsoft's contractual implementation of it, seems to be an "all or nothing" proposition. You can't split revenue (manually or automatically) even if the claimed portion of your work is a fraction of the total. (Either in that the claimed portion is a fraction of YOUR work or that you've only used a fraction of THEIR work.)

  • Nick Cunningham
    Nick Cunningham

    I'm watching this right after finding out that Warner Bros copyrighted MeatCanyon's Wabbit Season. Btw, it's now officially canon that Bugs Bunny is a rapist

  • Jacob Wh Khu
    Jacob Wh Khu

    Copyright infringement is more serious than war crimes nowadays

  • Snow Man
    Snow Man

    What about musicians who have been getting their music copyright-claimed even though they composed and performed the pieces themselves? I'd say as long as that is allowed/happening, the copyright system on youtube is indeed broken, Tom

  • midivilplanet

    *Bloopers follow this sponsored advertising* Alright you got me

  • Snow Man
    Snow Man

    part of me wants to see this copyright striked to prove tom that youtube's system is actually broken

  • Richard Gray
    Richard Gray

    Great. Comprehensive. Understandable. WOW!

  • 0MindSwept0


  • MyriadIsSynonymousWithNumerous


  • Fancypants McVomitshirt
    Fancypants McVomitshirt

    I think 50 years is a bit harsh. Some artists are only "discovered" long after they publish. I think 70 is fair, from the date of publication or creation. Extending copyright long after the artists death is stupid though.

  • Michal Walks
    Michal Walks

    Every word in your monologue has been used, one time or another, as lyrics in a song. How would you feel if you got a copyright strike and your account deleted with years of work gone because of this? Well, the same is going on with false claims. I have to tune out as this is an advertisement.

  • zachos 2000
    zachos 2000

    "there is an enormous distance between what the law says and what the world is doing", this is a seriously good quote, might be completely obvious to some but it's so very true, definitely one of my top 10 or top 15 favorite quotes I think... Hmm actually are quotes also copyrighted?? Can I quote people freely?

  • bill19282

    i think it should be upon death instead of 50 years !!

  • Barry Soetoro
    Barry Soetoro

    Most of the tension in my exp is where one youtuber will strike another youtuber because they are saying things they dont like. Or at least thats what people mean by its broken.

  • Kaedenn

    Very controversial topic with 98.47% positive reactions (as of this comment)? Something tells me this is yet another of your absolutely incredible works. How do YOU feel, Tom, about people sharing this video and using parts of it to educate each other?

  • Barry Soetoro
    Barry Soetoro

    I have the true wand that makes lawyers go away....Its called no assets, no bank account & tons of debt. Poof lawyers be gone. Sure Ill show up the the trial act a fool & laugh when they hit me with a judgement.

  • Dondlo

    Plot Twist:this video was copyrighted

  • namejeffVEVO

    its pronounced jif

  • Cassie

    Me: stops the video at 4 minutes looks at the duration 42 MINUTES OF VIDEO? goes to the comments Tom: Yup, 42 minutes of video. Also me: HOW DID YOU KNOW?

  • TheJadedRabbit

    hold on, I have questions about why those two making cookies were wearing gas masks? I mean I have plenty of questions about stock photo's in general but that one is up there as my top WTF one and makes me ask but why?

    • Cassie

      12:00 bojler eladó

  • Veggiemite Games
    Veggiemite Games

    As a tiny youtube channel that constantly worries about copyright and "fair use" this was very enlightening.

  • Joe Prado
    Joe Prado

    Can’t wait for a company to cryogenically freeze a musician so they can have infinite copyright.

  • Brian Duncan
    Brian Duncan

    I always enjoy listening to one of the most intelligent people on this platform. Thank you.

  • Steven Zhu
    Steven Zhu

    Is it just me, but his body looks thin compare to his head and arms.

  • default default
    default default

    this video is wow

  • jangoofy

    <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="1798">29:58</a> - hold up, there are still telephone booths in the UK ? or did the Tardis finally get a new skin ?

  • Rab Townsend
    Rab Townsend

    The most controversial position in this video is that there is a difference between "DISputes" and "disPUTES" besides emphasis.

  • RepeatYourself

    Legal Eagle!

  • Cringe Overload!!
    Cringe Overload!!

    How about trailers and little bits of video showing of a piece of work to get people to buy or subscribe? would it be okay to post that for yourself? i mean you would just be promoting the content?

  • Marty Hopkirk
    Marty Hopkirk

    Always enjoy your videos Tom, & this one has not failed to deliver again. Well put.

  • Arthur Guseynov
    Arthur Guseynov

    Long video init?

  • 霊Radoncombe

    Scott Rants.