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Soundboard for famous YouTuber? Mostly illegal!

Great YouTubers often have a large following. Accordingly, third markets often form around them. These include apps called “Soundboard.” However, these are usually a violation of the YouTuber’s rights.

I regularly have to issue warnings for YouTuber soundboards or have them removed from the Google and Apple Appstore. These allow you to play well-known phrases of YouTubers, but are often published to the app store by fans, and even often monetized with the help of advertising.

However, this is a violation of the rights of these YouTubers/streamers.

While it depends on the specific design, most of the time these apps reuse photographs of the YouTubers as well as their names, their logos, and of course their voiceovers. This is often also for their own material benefit.

For all use of graphics and photos as well as for the use of the artist’s name, the creators have usually not received a license or permission in advance. However, this is necessary, because the YouTuber/streamer is entitled to the use of his own photo and his own name/brand alone, if he has not transferred the rights to use to others.

From a purely formal legal point of view, the streamers are therefore often entitled to injunctive relief under Section 8 (1) UWG due to the publication of the apps in violation of Sections 3, 4 (1) UWG. 3 (a) and (b) UWG to. The adoption of the images of the streamers in connection with the artist name and – often – the playing of advertising offer leads to the impression that the streamer supports the app or there is a license agreement. This does not change when additions like (Fan App) are added.

By using the name of the streamer, the trademark rights of the YouTuber are usually also violated. If there is really no commercial intention at all, there is usually at least a violation of the right to a name according to § 12 BGB.

As consequential claims, the streamer/YouTuber is then entitled to a claim for destruction pursuant to § 98 para. 1 UrhG and Section 18 MarkenG as well as a claim for removal pursuant to Section 8 para. 1 UWG to.

Finally, the provider of the unlawful app is liable under Section 101 para. 1 UrhG (German Copyright Act) to provide information about the manner and duration of use of the images, sounds, etc. Finally, mostly according to § 97 para. 2 UrhG, Section 14 (6) MarkenG and Section 9 UWG.

Of course, many streamers/YouTubers are happy when a “fan cult” develops. But that usually ends when the fans earn money with the app itself. In addition, creators are obligated under trademark law to “defend” their own trademark, otherwise they themselves may be risking their own trademark rights. The situation is therefore somewhat comparable to the streaming of games as such, which is often also a copyright infringement from a purely formal legal point of view, but which many manufacturers tolerate, at least as long as their own interests are not seriously violated.

It is therefore not advisable to publish apps of any kind without the consent of the respective YouTuber/streamer/influencer or other celebrity without first asking the management or YouTuber for permission. This can quickly end up being very expensive.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053