Fair use is dead – at least on YouTube

As I sat down to check my email today, I was confused to find a Copyright Infringement notification in my inbox from YouTube.  The letter is available in full below.


The video in question (now available without sound, courtesy of YouTube) is a 90 second long trailer that I mashed up from some homemade footage before one of the LAN-parties we had at my old school, Tullinge Gymnasium. It was a small, local production that had attracted a little over 500 views, and compared to some other videos using the same song, I’d say mine was one of the clearest fair use cases. Frankly, my first reaction was how someone from an american recording label was even looking at one of my videos. YouTube did not have option to claim fair usage, but instead only to either remove the sound, change the audio track or contact them regarding a false copyright claim. This is definitely not good practice and I’m sure my case isn’t the first of its kind. For now there really isn’t anything to do, but hopefully the staff over at YouTube is working on improving their service.

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2 Comments on “Fair use is dead – at least on YouTube”

  1. Renee Hobbs Says:

    You may find it useful to review the principles in the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education to learn more about how fair use applies to your work. In assessing whether a use of a copyrighted work is fair, consider the question, “Did I repurpose or add value to the copyrighted work? Am I using the work for a purpose different from that for which it was originally intended?” The Code is available at: http://mediaeducationlab.com

    When we use music as a soundtrack, as background to video, then sometimes it could be argued that it’s not a fair use. When we’re using copyrighted music as a means to create or sustain a mood, that’s the original purpose of the music. Sometimes we may use music for other purposes, as in the case of commenting or critiquing the music, using the music to make a point about something else.

    After reading the code, if you still think your use of music was a fair use, please take advantage of the Fair Use Network


  2. Carolin Says:

    Du blev ÄGD!

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