To legally load movies for others to view on YouTube, sign in and click the upload button at the top of the page. Choose a public video privacy setting, add the video information and choose a legal video file to upload.
It is only legal to upload copyrighted movies to YouTube with the permission of the copyright holder. Home movies and other videos created by the uploader are legal to upload. Videos uploaded with the consent of the creator are also legal to upload.
Movies in the public domain are legal to upload to YouTube or other sites. These movies have expired copyrights, or have never been copyrighted at all. Popular examples of movies in the public domain are "Nosferatu" and the original 1968 version of "Night of the Living Dead."
All movies made prior to 1923 are in the public domain in the United States. These movies are all legal to upload to the Internet without restriction, including to YouTube. The copyright status of movies made after 1923 depends on the year of creation, whether its copyright holder is an individual or a corporation, and whether the copyright holder takes all necessary steps to secure and renew the copyright.
To determine whether a movie is copyrighted, search for it with the U.S. Copyright Office. The office does not maintain a list of public domain works, but copyright record searches can determine whether a work is under copyright.