Hot Tip: You can technically upload your movie library to Google Photos / Drive for free…

…but it might be against Google’s TOS?

According to Google, its Photos product is built to provide:

Free storage and automatic organization for all your memories.

But do Hollywood movies count as ‘memories’ if they’re legally obtained by you and uploaded to Google’s free Photos service?

With Google Photos uploaded movie files, up to 2GB in size, don’t count towards your Google account upload limit. ‘Photos’ also works with Google Drive to provide file system access to your uploads, meaning you can make a ‘Movies’ folder in Google Drive’s ‘Google Photos’ folder and have these videos converted to a format that Google doesn’t count in your storage limit.

I uploaded a movie to Google Photos a few hours ago and…it worked. The file is in Drive and appears in Google Photos and I can even stream it on my phone.

So what’s the catch to Google’s unlimited, free, Drive connected ‘Movie’ streaming service then, apart from the filesize limit?

For one it might be illegal to store a copy of a movie with a cloud service provider, even if you own it, and therefore you might be breaking Google’s terms of service and your country’s own Copyright laws.

According to Google’s Terms doc:

We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement and terminate accounts of repeat infringers according to the process set out in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
We provide information to help copyright holders manage their intellectual property online. If you think somebody is violating your copyrights and want to notify us, you can find information about submitting notices and Google’s policy about responding to notices in our Help Center.

Theoretically if your files aren’t shared with anyone else and aren’t publicly indexed by a search engine then you’re not breaking Google’s terms and files won’t be removed, unless you’re sharing the Drive link with a bunch of people.

The last paragraph is vague though and might give copyright holders a way to automatically detect their content on Google Photos, as they can on the Google-owned YouTube platform. But it also might not.

So in conclusion, storing your movie collection on Google Drive might be risky but could also be pretty rewarding if Google isn’t trying too hard to search through your files.