There have been several seemingly unlikely types of content that have found a home on YouTube, and perhaps one of the more unlikely of those is the Reddit comment video. These videos follow a simple formula whereby the YouTuber reads out a selection of interesting, funny, or weird Reddit comments. Essentially it’s a highlight reel of Reddit comments.
The obvious question that arises here is, of course, are you allowed to just use other people’s Reddit comments in this manner? And, in typical copyright-related and YouTube fashion, the answer is a little messy. In the simplest sense, you cannot legally use Reddit comments in your YouTube videos without permission from the author of those comments. That being said, the chances of repercussions are almost non-existent, hence why there are so many Reddit comment videos.
Who Owns Reddit Comments?
Ultimately, all questions of this nature come down to ownership. In the case of Reddit, the person who writes the comment is the owner of that content, with Reddit holding rights to use any content on their platform for things like promoting the service. This means that in the eyes of the law, you would be stealing if you started using Reddit comments in your videos without the express permission of the author.
The exception to this is, of course, when the Reddit comment in question was not created by the author, such as a quote, excerpt, or image. In those cases, the original owner still retains their ownership.
In either case, the owner could lawfully request your video be taken down for copyright infringement, and could even attempt to take you to court for damages!
Can You Be Sued For Using Reddit Comments Without Permission?
Okay, dramatics aside, the chances of you being sued over using a Reddit comment without permission are pretty slim. It is not a matter of rights—the owner of the Reddit comment absolutely has the right to pursue you in the courts if you use their comment without permission—but there is an issue of practicality.
In order to actually take someone to court for damages, there has to be damages. Reddit does not presently offer a way for commenters to make money from their contributions directly, and very few users would be able to plausibly claim that their Reddit posts form a substantial part of their income.
The upshot of all this is that the commenter in question would likely be suing you for pennies, maybe dollars. Certainly not enough to make the legal costs worth it.
Now, with all that being said, it’s worth remembering that this is a risky strategy to adopt. Essentially banking on intellectual property owners to decide that suing you is not worth the hassle may work in a lot of instances, but the one time it doesn’t work could be very bad. Needless to say, this is not a legal blog, and the only legal advice we would propose here is don’t break the law!
The most practical way around this hypothetical problem is to seek the permission of the Reddit commenters whose comments you want to use. Of course, “practical” in this case is a very relative term. Sure, it is more practical than being sued, but Reddit comment videos will typically have dozens of comments in them, if not more. If there is a time-sensitive element to the Reddit comment videos in question, that makes it less practical to get permission from every commenter you want to use.
Using Reddit Content On YouTube
So, where does this leave you? Again, we are not going to advise you to do anything illegal—you should always seek the permission of a content creator before using their content—but if you decide not to seek that permission, we would certainly recommend attribution.
Ensuring that the authors of the comments you are using are clearly attributed—such as in the video itself and also in the description—will likely be enough for many Reddit posters. As we mentioned there is little-to-no money in Reddit for the vast majority of its users, but there is a lot of social prestige to be earned. Indeed, the entire premise of YouTube is built around posting content that other users like, and your video brings more attention to a particular Redditor, it’s unlikely that they’ll complain about it.
Reddit Content Video Ideas
Once you’ve worked out how you are going to handle the legal side of things regarding using Redditor’s posts, you can then start looking at how you will present your video. Fortunately, there are a few options to choose from.
It should be noted that a common theme with these kinds of videos is that the YouTuber themselves does not appear in the video. Often each comment will be accompanied by relevant imagery (such as the comment itself), but, for the most part, the YouTuber’s face does not appear. That being said, this is not a hard rule, and you may want to do something different.
Some YouTubers opt to play this pretty straight, reading out the comments as evenly as possible, not offering any additional commentary. This style suits YouTubers who are not especially charismatic in front of a microphone.
Straight Laced and Computer Generated
Another option for YouTubers who just want to let the Reddit content speak for itself is to use computer-generated dialogue to read out the comments. This essentially means the YouTuber has no need for a camera or microphone, and the quality of text-to-speech has improved remarkably over recent years.
If the YouTuber in question is a charismatic presence—and especially if they are quick witted—they might want to narrate the commentary themselves and, in doing so, inject their personality into the video.
Using Reddit content on YouTube is an increasingly popular style of video, and, while there is plenty of rough edging when it comes to the legal side, if you can navigate your way through that potential minefield. it, there is an unending supply of content for you to make!
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.