You do not need permission if you are using something that is not copyrightable or is in the public domain, or if you are using it in a way that does not implicate one of the rights of copyright holders or is permitted by a user’s right. You also don't need further permission if your use falls within an existing license.
Information on these topics that is specific to video can be found below. For more information on all of these topics, please see our Copyright Basics guide.
Works that are not subject to copyright are in the public domain. They may be used without permission. In the United States, a copyrightable work is in the public domain if:
Every country has its own rules about when a copyrightable work enters the public domain.
A public license permits certain uses of copyrighted materials by the public at large. If a work you wish to use has been released under a public license, you do not have to seek additional permission from the rightsholder in order to do the things authorized by the license. However, you do still need to follow the license terms. For example, the license may require attribution to the original author or it may forbid commercial uses.
Creative Commons licenses are public licenses. Other public licenses include the licenses on the lists of free software licenses maintained by the Free Software Foundation and the licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative.
Copyright law gives copyright holders specific rights. If your use of a work does not implicate any of those rights, it does not require permission.
For example, watching a DVD on a television set with your family or social acquaintances would not implicate any of the rights of the copyright holder. It would not involve reproduction, modification, distribution, or public performance or display of the work. It would qualify as a performance, but not as a public one.
When you use a work under one of the user's rights in the Copyright Act, your use does not require permission. User's rights that may apply when you are using video include: