Fair Use School: Response to YouTube’s Copyright School Video

This is my winning entry for Public Knowledge’s video contest to create a response to YouTube’s new “copyright school” video. While YouTube’s video is generally informative about copyright law and user generated video, it falls short when it comes to its description of fair use, an exception to copyright protection that allows you to incorporate copyrighted content into your videos without the permission of the copyright holder. This video describes fair use in an easy-to-understand way, and shows that rather than being a bunch of complicated legalize that ordinary YouTube users could never understand, fair use is a simple principle that you can use as a weapon to fight abusive takedown notices and get your videos restored when they are blocked for copyright infringement. Note that this video is NOT legal advice, and fair use law is still very nebulous and uncertain–hence my frequent use of the word “probably.” While the chances of being sued for filing a counter-notice are low, it should not be done lightly, and you assume any risk that results from taking such action. For more information on copyright, fair use, and YouTube, please visit my website, fairusetube.org, which features a detailed tutorial on how to dispute copyright blocks both under YouTube’s automated Content ID system and with a DMCA counter-notice. Also visit Public Knowledge’s website, at http Another great resource about fair use and YouTube videos is the Center for Social Media’s “Code of Best

Related Blogs

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    20 Responses to “Fair Use School: Response to YouTube’s Copyright School Video”

    1. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      I’ve seen that disclaimer a lot, but it’s not actually a very good one because it says nothing about why YOUR SPECIFIC VIDEO is fair use. It’s just a general summary of fair use. Disclaimers in general don’t really do anything, since they won’t prevent your video from being taken down. But if you want to do a disclaimer, I’d recommend something like, “this video is fair use because it is non-commercial, transformative in nature, and does not compete with the original work.”

    2. MagnitudeOfSoul Says:

      WHAT THE FUCK? I AM NOT ALLOWED TO EVEN GO TO MY OWN CHANNEL AND HAVE TO REMOVE ALL MUSIC ON MY CHANNEL . FUCKING WHAT FUCK!!!!!

    3. MagnitudeOfSoul Says:

      WHAT THE FUCK? I AM NOT ALLOWED TO EVEN GO TO MY OWN CHANNEL AND HAVE TO REMOVE ALL MUSIC ON MY CHANNEL . FUCKING WHAT FUCK!!!!!

      THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT AS IF THE ARTISTS GIVE A FUCK ABOUT SONGS UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE.. FUCKING MOTHERFUCKNIG IM SO FUCKING PISSED OFF

    4. WackyBrothersHQ Says:

      As far as I know, the only real people on here who dosn’t copyright anything, are those who don’t even HAVE videos! Hate to break it to you YouTube, but that whole “Youtube’s Copyright School” video is just POINTLESS! I mean, anybody on here that makes a video has a 99% chance of copying something. So Youtube, I would’nt even bother fighting it. EVERYBODY DOES IT! And theres not a thing you can do ABOUT IT!
      P.S. I bet you had to pay Mondo media just to make that HTF video….

    5. sephirothkly Says:

      For the government its more important control the copyright than make a world more secure for Violations, theft, abuses, etc? Come on World, wake up!

    6. ultimatetubetime Says:

      youtube’s copyright law is ridiculous. they claim it’s up to the copyright holder but If they were true to copyright videos they would ALL be blocked & youtube’s viewership/ad dollars would plummet. They play the game so it best suits them. It’s like a cop pulling over 2 motorists at the same time for each breaking the law at the same excessive speed. Both drivers have clean records but one isn’t ticketed while the other is heavily penalized. THAT is the way they play copyright law.

    7. MoonschoolGamer Says:

      @DarkLordofDebate Would game reviews be under Fair-Use. I did once file a copyright-claim against something before and said stuff about fair-use with links and all that, but just wanted to know if Game Reviews come under fair-use and if I was able to play games if I review them.

    8. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      Yes, game reviews are commentary and criticism of the game, thus it would be fair use to use clips or footage of the game in order to illustrate your commentary. Reviews in general are a strong example of fair use.

    9. kingmike357 Says:

      Even if you are making advertising money?

    10. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      Commercial use can still be fair use, though it’s somewhat less likely. You still need to go through all the factors, but for very brief things like sound clips, it’s such a minor use fair use is pretty strong. You’d also need to consider if there is any kind of market for licensing those sound clips (unlikely). If not, that would also work in your favor.

    11. NinjaPony42 Says:

      Man, this is so reassuring! 😀 I was always afraid of copyright, but I just couldn’t help uploading my music videos!

      This really helps me calm down about all that (c) issue that was stressing me. Thank you! 😀

    12. CburgAllstar Says:

      what can i do about using song covers. im a guitarist and want to cover songs and play over a tape so that the viewers can follow along with the song. i did one and it said it was copyright of some sort. it didnt get taken down or anything and i didnt get a strike. but what couldve i done to get by with fair use on that stuff? a lot of other people are using the same song that i did in their videos.

    13. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      Covers are a big gray area. There’s actually a special statutory license that professional musicians have to get when they do a cover, but that doesn’t actually include all the rights necessary for a public performance on YouTube. In the case of most amateur cover artists, I think it would be reasonable to claim fair use, as I don’t think Congress intended the statutory cover license to apply to teenagers playing guitar in their bedrooms, etc.

    14. tmc200527 Says:

      There are a lot of instructional videos on youtube. Can you monetized a teaching video on a technical topic such as math, physics, chemistry or engineering where you use the solved problems from these textbooks in the videos?

    15. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      Interesting question. Honestly I’m not sure. I would guess probably not, since you are copying parts of their textbooks on the video, and by using it for educational purposes you are competing in the same market and possibly competing with their own video materials.

    16. Brutus1Buckeye Says:

      I have some pretty good videos but the one they took down only had about 1300 views, not one of my best. I used a pretty random song without lyrics and they couldn’t pin me on it, but I put that music over edited clips of Inglorious Basterds which Weinstein made a strike against.

      My question is what exactly does a video need to not compete with the original. I made a music video. That’s all that I do and put on here. THIS IS BULLSHIT.

    17. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      Noncommercial music videos usually do not compete with the original, since there is no market for licensing music for amateur non-commercial use on user generated video sites, and it does not generally substitute for buying the song. That’s basically what that means–if it can substitute for an established market for the copyrighted material.

    18. Kaandorpius Says:

      @DarkLordofDebate

      watch?v=fXYn7KhLz9o

      Is this fair use, cause i simple made a collection of clips without any commentary. And i want to get rid of the adds, so thats why i wanna know. I dont make money of these clips.

    19. ValiantCorvus Says:

      Just had 29 of my videos on another account removed because youtube doesn’t check the validity of their copyright claims. I stated that none of the content of the videos were of my making and I had no intention of profiting from them, and the copyright claim came from a group that had NOTHING to do with my video.

      Yes, I could dispute it, but for 29 videos? I’m fucking disappointed, youtube.

    20. DarkLordofDebate Says:

      A collection of clips can be commentary, but I’m afraid I can’ tell you if your particular video is fair use. My site has lots of information that will help you decide if you think it’s fair use though.