Got Permission to Upload that Video?


A parent video records your spring concert and posts it online. What’s to worry? A lot. You need permission from two sources:

  1. Individuals in the video or their parents
  2. The copyright owner 

Individual and Parent Permission

Before using someone’s likeness on a public site (YouTube, SchoolTube, your school website), you need that person’s permission. For people under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must grant the permission.

The Legal Section of SchoolTube’s website says, “(ii) you have the written consent, release, and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person in the User Submission to use the name or likeness of each and every such identifiable individual person….”

Written permission should include the individual’s name, the date, and a description of the material (e.g., video recording of Southland Elementary School’s Spring Concert, April 2, 2011). Permission can be for a specific use (e.g., on the Southland Elementary School website) or for use “in any manner throughout the world in all media.”

Copyright Owner Permission

Most online videos use streaming technology and are considered “public performances.” These usually require obtaining two rights: a Reproduction Right and a Public Performance Right. See NAfME’s Copyright Guidelines for SchoolTube for details. Also review YouTube’s Copyright Tips.

SchoolTube’s legal notice says, “you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that: (i) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize SchoolTube to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary rights in and to any and all User Submissions.”

Be Aware and Inform Parents

Some teachers believe they’re small potatoes and won’t be pursued. However, NAfME member Heather reports that someone in her district was caught violating copyright law. A parent videotaped a concert and posted in on the Internet. “The school had permission to perform the pieces, but not to record or publish a recording, so that was where the trouble came from. As a result, we’re being asked to make a statement prior to every performance telling parents not to record the concert.”

Educate parents on the ramifications of taking and posting videos of school performances at the beginning of and during the school year. Heather says, “It was definitely a lesson learned. I had no idea we could get in trouble for what parents did!”


NAfME Copyright Center

Copyright Guidelines for SchoolTube

SchoolTube Legal Section

YouTube Copyright Tips


—Linda C. Brown, March 23, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (