The number of take down notices that YouTube receives on a daily basis is very high. The reason for this is because content creators wants to protect their content in any form that they can so they look for ways to protect it by preventing other people from using it, especially if the goal is to make any kind of money from it. The challenge with that is Fair Use of content protects Creators from having to take down other people’s videos if all they are doing is talking about it and commenting on it. Fair Use protects the person who posted the video without the need for permission. But if the Creator only reposted the original video with no additional change or commentary added to it then they do break copyright law if the video was protected in the first place. If the video has a Creative Commons license and the original owner wants to take down the video then they are not able to do that since the video has a CC license on it.
Creating a Level Playing Field
YouTube gets its contents from all the amazing Creators who have taken the time and effort of editing their videos and posting them online to their website. Millions of channels exist on YouTube which means this increases the chance of people breaking the law. In the beginning YouTube would follow suit on any take down notice that came their way because it was a new medium at the time but now that it has had time to mature and grow they have had time to learn what all they can do to help keep content, that rightfully belongs online, there.
Imagine someone took a video you made of your family vacation and posted it on their channel without your permission and commented on all the crazy things your family likes to do. In an outrage you send a take-down notice to YouTube asking them to take down the video because they took it without your permission. This would affect the whole ecosystem of memes and viral videos out there that people have created from other people’s content. The original owner of a meme would prevent their meme from going viral if they required everyone to pay them first before reposting it. Where would the fun be in that.
In an effort to help keep content on YouTube that rightly belongs there YouTube is now offering legal services to YouTubers that have to deal with take-down notices or face legal action. Many creators online are just everyday posting about something silly or funny, or in many cases, useful to other people. In the case of the family who was sued by Universal Music Publishing Group alleging that her home video of her daughter dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” song violated copyright is a perfect example of companies overstepping their legal actions. I wrote an article about it when it came out. It was decided that the copyright holder should account for Fair-Use of the song and that it was intended for entertainment purposes only. The court ruled in favor of Lenz and that the actions of both Universal and Prince were unlawful.
Understanding Fair-Use and Creative Commons
Ask any middle school or high school kid who has done a research project recently where they got the images for their project from and they will tell you, “the internet.” They don’t realize that when you take an image online and put it into their project that they are claiming that they are the owners of those images. Many people also have this false assumption that anything taken from the internet is fair game, to a certain degree, but that with some content the use of copyright still stands.
Many people believe that the internet should still hold up for copyright law but that is not the case when the internet reaches all parts of the world. The laws in one country don’t hold up in another and for a regular person to try and challenge such a claim in court is literally just wasting their time and money. In any case though when you use wide-reaching audience website like YouTube, then you have to consider copyright laws, Fair-Use, and Creative Commons before posting anything.
Examples of Fair-Use
1. Commentary on someone’s video
2. A Parody on someone else’s work
3. News Reporting
5. Criticism on someone’e work
6. Search Engine Results
Purpose of Creative Commons Licenses
When an author wants to
1. Give the right to others to share their work
2. Allow others to use their work with their projects
3. encourage others to build upon their work and make it their own.
Many search engines have features built in that help you find CC content so you understand that you are not stealing work that is protected under law. In Google’s search engine under search tools you are given an option for Usage Rights, if you click that option then you can select from a list that allows you to pick what kind of content you are looking for. In many cases you are looking to reuse something someone has created. This option works for just images.
Posting Content on YouTube
It is important to consider how you want people to use your videos that you post online. YouTube currently offers Standard License and CC license. If you post a video with a Standard License then people need to get permission to use your video for anything outside of Fair-Use. If your video is CC then you are giving permission to people to use your video in anything they want.
This is important to think about before starting a YouTube channel that way you can consider how your content will be used by others. If you are starting a company then you might consider protecting your work in order to protect your brand. Many people create channels just to play around and talk about stuff they like so if that is the case then using a CC license will be best.
Just consider the long term for how you want people to view you YouTube channel and the content you create. This will help protect you from legal troubles down the road.