Google fights for fair use

Google are offering to legally fight DMCA on fair use grounds on a few selected videos? This could be big…especially if they get case law and win. Remember this if your video mashups or remixes are taken down – you’re all definitely in the fair use category.

As they said:

We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it (for more background on the DMCA and copyright law see check out this Copyright Basics video). In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a “demo reel” that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.

While we can’t offer legal protection to every video creator—or even every video that has a strong fair use defense—we’ll continue to resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns as part of our normal processes. We believe even the small number of videos we are able to protect will make a positive impact on the entire YouTube ecosystem, ensuring YouTube remains a place where creativity and expression can be rewarded.

EDIT: Seen a good summing up of what’s going on and the history of Google’s Fair use challenge at Gizmodo. In my mind, it’s great if a little too late for many people who’ve had their accounts removed or limited for obvious fair use (my Rastamouse video where I put Sleng Teng over it would qualify under the new UK rules, and the US parody/fair use rules – but I still can’t upload videos over 10 minutes on my YouTube account because of that shit, the company owning Rastamouse gave me a copyright strike. Thanks! Not. Never watched or supported Rastamouse since – I’d understand if Sleng Teng was rude in a way kids might understand it, but it isn’t. Actually saying don’t take cocaine, which is a good message…).

The Gizmodo article also points out how scary and unhelpful YouTube’s own site is when you challenge a DMCA. I’ve challenged quite a few, and won nearly all of them but it’s not a fun process, even if you have right on your side…the wording and way it’s structured seems to suggest the world will fall on your head if you challenge it. When in my experience unless it’s The Purple One (Lenz vs Universal) it’s fine.

YouTube’s Copyright Center has a ton of links to other pages, and not all of them make clear that you can dispute things for fair use reasons. The Content ID page, for example, says you can dispute something if you “have the required rights” or believe the work has been “misidentified.” “Have the required rights” doesn’t sound like fair use to the average person. You have to click through to another page which then says, “You may want to learn more about fair use or the public domain before you choose to dispute for either of those reasons.” But the first page doesn’t make clear that fair use is a reason you can dispute a claim.

Image 8oinks Mashup_June Review by Shirin Kavin, CC.

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