YouTube has announced that they’re going to be standing up for creators who use copyrighted content in a way that falls under “fair use.”
What’s fair use? I’m going to try to explain it without making your eyes gloss over. It’s an exception to the copyright law that enables people to use portions of copyrighted material for the purpose of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research,” as stated in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If you’ve ever seen the sad red face on a video you wanted to watch, the DMCA may be involved. Even though YouTube itself falls under the “safe harbor” provision, content creators generally aren’t. And some copyright holders can get very pushy against individuals.
So what does all of this mean to you? Well if you create videos about movies, TV shows, or games that fall under the fair use exception, then YouTube will help protect you from the big, bad copyright owners who come after you.
A notice published on the Google Public Policy Blog says, “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. 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.”