Is it legal to recreate trailers, and upload to YouTube?

edited May 2016 in Filmmaking


I want to start making trailers/teasers of famous movies, and as far as I'm concerned, recreating them shouldn't be a problem, right? 

Video part is fine, since it'll be my own, but the sound will probably come straight from the trailer, is this legal?

Tips please!


  • Unless it's a parody, it's probably not legal. The idea of fair use is only covered by a "limited and transformative" use, and is usually only for commentary and criticism to get your point across.

  • Watch the "If up was directed by Micheal Bay"

    Maybe try doing mash ups  or recreating every scene from the trailer yourself.

    edited May 2016

    What do you mean by that?

    If I make my own sound, and video, is it still illegal?

    To be clear, I'm not going to re use any video in any teaser/trailer, it sounds like that's what you ment @inScapeDigital

  • If you make your own sound and video, that's legal. I know you're not going to reuse the video, but copyright covers audio as well. Anything in a tangible form is under protection, which not only includes the original sound recordings but the trailer audio as well.

  • As long as you are just borrowing sound bytes (hits, punches, explooooosions) and not the whole trailer audio (voices, music, footage), you should be fine. Also don't use any music unless it original or your video may get pulled.

  • This sucks.... :(

    Alright well that's gonna have to do. So basically I'm gonna make a cover of teaser/trailer music, and that's allowed, regardless how similar, correct? 

  • edited May 2016

    correct, sam and niko from corridor digital do it all the time and have tutorials on how to do it

  • @TriFlixFilms - Damn! Thanks for the name drop CorridorDigital. Now I want to buy a drone!!

  • @GrayMotion No Problem, I watch a lot of media (TV, Video Games, YouTube, social media)

    Most of my conversations are just me referencing something I'd seen on media somewhere. It makes it easier when I help people because if I can't explain it very well, I can send them somewhere where another person can/already has.

  • edited May 2016

    "If I make my own sound, and video, is it still illegal?" Technically, yes if you're making any reference to a movie, title, character, music, TV show etc. I produced a tribute album for Star Trek's 50th anniversary years ago and presented it to Paramount. It's futuristic rock music that I wrote but the lyrics included names and places from 4 series of Trek (TOS through Voyager- Enterprise wasn't out yet) along with some sound bites from the shows mixed in. The only thing I can legally claim as my own is the music I personally wrote (which I've since adapted to new projects) and any words that didn't include names and places used in Trek. I did get a reply from Paramount expressing their gratitude for my appreciation of the show but I was also ordered to cease and desist any further action due to "contractual reasons".....which is technical mumbo jumbo B.S. because they could work out any contract they wanted to. So much for the little guy having a million dollar idea on which a company would gladly capitalize.

    Now under the auspices of a parody, you can get away with just about anything. Otherwise the only other legal way is to purchase the rights or license the material you wish to use. That's obviously going to be expensive though.

  •  I may have found a loophole. If it's for non profit and educating myself, it doesn't appear to be illegal, is that right?

  • Possibly, but you wouldnt be able to monetize.

  • edited May 2016

     I may have found a loophole. If it's for non profit and educating myself, it doesn't appear to be illegal, is that right?

    No, it's still not legal.  I would also submit that if you're sitting here looking for "loopholes" then you should probably find another project.

    To clarify, you can do whatever you like on your own computer, but the moment you upload it to YouTube, you run the risk of a violation.

    That said, in a lot of cases "violation" with regards to YouTube specifically simply means that you won't be able to monetize your video, as said above.  Many content providers have partnered with YouTube to basically not pursue content claims as long as they get to collect ad revenue off of any videos that contain their content.  That includes video or sound.

    The concept of "parody" is a lot narrower than people think, as well, and "covering" a song does not exempt you from copyright claims regardless of whether it's a full orchestral arrangement or Triem humming into his microphone.  "Slightly" changing the piece doesn't work either, as Vanilla Ice found out when he added an eighth note to the bass line for Queen's "Under Pressure" and rapped over it on "Ice Ice Baby".  Queen took him to court, and he lost.

    In short; stop lawyering over minutae and do something original.  There's enough derivative content out there to last us a lifetime already.

  • edited May 2016

    Non-profit is kind of a sketchy area too and if you're educating yourself why would you post it anywhere on line? I can hear a lawyer asking that easily. But then again, a lot of copyright violations are present on youtube and whoever put them out there never seem to get called on it. It's a gamble. Not thinking about what I had in a video once - I had a picture from some news source that I forgot about and that got called out. I just took the vid down. Then I've done parodies of famous movies that I properly accredited i.e. the company who owned the rights of the movie, credit to the music composer etc. and those vids haven't been flagged or anything.

    So are you looking to reproduce exact trailers or create new ones using clips of older movies? You might be able to get away with older films. There are thousands of old TV commercials that aren't accredited on youtube but the companies (if still around) probably don't mind the free advertising. Since older movies are out on DVD or available for digital download, maybe the production company wouldn't care about a trailer made by a third party. I know Disney is aggressive about prosecuting copyright violations- Lucasfilm, not so much. I'm not trying to rain on your parade- just don't want to see you get in trouble.

  • Knowing YouTube right now... If you even upload something remotely to do with the subject you will get striked. I tried to upload a simple tutorial on how to make a light saber and I got 2 strikes from 2 different company's... You can make the video but there is a high chance you wont be earning money off it.

    edited May 2016

    Interesting. I thank you both.

    I'll just store them locally then, or private on YouTube.

  • KevinTheFilmmaker I came across this when trying to find out same info a while back and it kind of gave a little insight into the matter. Although when in doubt I would try to contact the company in charge of handling the said trailer and see what their decision is on the matter. Some smaller companies I have heard that all they want is to view the work before it is put out there and credit for the video footage used that was theirs originally.

  • Yeah I've decided to keep it all private, thought thanks for the input everyone!

  • If you want to recreate trailers, and upload to YouTube, you need to learn more about fair use first, which has been explained here: and stated here: Parody can be seen as fair use, and using material from primarily video is more likely to be fair than using purely original video.

  • repeated content should not be allowed on youtube. when we searched for a movie trailer on youtube, it shows so many results. which one is best is quite confusing!

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