Ok, so Youtube’s overzealous copyright policing of Youtube finally caught up with my YouTube profile ReEDITamator.
They blocked a number of my mashup vids for copyright infringement. At first I thought- fair enough, as I did use clips of movies to make some mashup parodies; but one night when I was bored, I read up on the automated policing of copyright on YouTube and came across something called ‘Fair Use’.
In a nutshell, Fair Use is the notion under copyright law that no matter what sort of copyrighted material you use. If you are making a ‘transformative’ or enough of a culturally changed work, then Fair Use may apply.
An example would be taking a clip of Neo getting shot by Agent Smith in the final part of the Matrix movie and editing it so that Neo dies, instead of ressurecting himself and then the end credits role.
Thus changing the outcome of the scene. By doing this you have created a Transformative work from the original.
Secondly, your work is purely entertainment for the purposes of making a few people on YouTube laugh, and in no way threatens the worldwide earning potential of the original.
It may apply in the way that if you dispute it with Youtube they are not likely to argue the toss with you and the millions of other users also disputing vids, they just cannot police it.
YouTube will reinstate your vid but this now leaves only the copyright holder themselves capable of suing you in court. However, you and the millions of Youtube users are unlikely to end up in court anytime soon.
Worst case, Youtube might reject your dispute, so your vid stays blocked and your YT account may get a strike and may even be deleted entirely- but you are unlikely to get sued.
So anyway my vids started getting blocked, one by one – I finally decided to challenge one of my better efforts, (a mashup of Star Wars and The Angry BT Caller).
I used the dispute button in the Youtube Vid Manager console and selected the preset reason of Fair Use. I then had to put in a short statement and electronically sign the form with my name.
Something akin to :
“…this video is a transformative mashup parody of x and y and is purely for entertainment purposes only.
No profit is derived from this video and no copyright infringement is intended. Therefore, I believe it does not impact on the originals earning potential in anyway and I believe ‘fair use’ applies to this video ….”
Almost straight away my vid was reinstated. That’s not to say Fair Use is absolute in this case – or any other, only that I have made a declaration of Fair Use and that Youtube won’t persue it any further.
It is likely they automatically reinstate them and don’t even check your dispute details, that is unless they have a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) takedown notice slapped on you directly by the copyright holder.
So, the absolute bottom line of this, is – if you are making transformative vid mashups and are not profiting from it, then you have a really good case under “Fair Use”.
Making profit is not necessarily illegal under Fair Use either, the test is just too grey at the moment. However, if you don’t make money it is another string to your how in terms of arguing that your mashup vid is just that – a bit of fun for entertainment, rather than for profit purposes.
For further viewing check out my Youtube vids page here.
Fair use as a concept, is a pretty grey area but if you believe your mashup vid is a transformative work – for entertainment purposes, challenge it.