The YouTube Legal Disclaimer

A useful adjunct to the Wikipedia Reporting Verb is the YouTube Legal Disclaimer. Commonly found on illicitly uploaded movies, TV series, or music videos, the YouTube Legal Disclaimer is an inspired innovation in intellectual property law. It works as follows:

1. When uploading material one does not own to YouTube, one should insert into the description field, “No Copyrite Intended.”

2. The upload is now legal and the uploader is immune from prosecution.

The legal brilliance of this maneuver derives from the strict legal principle that possession is nine tenths of the law, and intention is the other ten per cent. Since the uploader possesses the material in question, and has no intention of observing that anyone else might own the copyright, by declaring “No Copyrite Intended,” he or she instantly legitimizes his or her activities.

I asked Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia about this piece of legal creativity, and he told me he was astonished. “It’s foolproof,” he marveled. “The inventor of this disclaimer must be a legal genius of the sort not seen since the creation of the No Backsies doctrine!”

(Later, Clarence Thomas approached me and said, “I agree with Scalia.”)