Thursday, July 14, 2011

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

In April I reported that YouTube had a new video called "YouTube Copyright School."  Feeling that perhaps that video left out important information about fair use and other copyright doctrines, Public Knowledge started a contest to create a better video, with a $1,000 prize.

PK has now announced the winner of the contest.  The winning video was produced by Patrick McKay (whose blog is devoted to fair use), and is entitled, "Fair Use School: Response to YouTube's Copyright School Video."  (Here's Techdirt's story on the winning entry.)  Perhaps to illustrate what is fair use, the video humorously copies small portions of the YouTube video (and other copyrighted works).
McKay's video does a good job of explaining fair use in a succinct way.   As Techdirt and the comments to his video note, however, the law of fair use is somewhat uncertain, so there isn't always a clear-cut answer to the question.  On the subject of DMCA counter-notices, the video doesn't mention that if you post a counter-notice, the possibility of getting sued increases.  YouTube's form counter-notification requires, among other things, (1) your full legal name, address, phone number and email address (so you can't hide behind an anonymous YouTube user name), and (2) a consent to federal jurisdiction in your home district, for purposes of a lawsuit.  If in fact you have done your best to have an anonymous YouTube account and simply let your videos get removed after a takedown notice, you might still get sued, but it will be far more difficult for the copyright holder.  However, if you disclose your personal details and consent to jurisdiction, it makes it a lot easier for the copyright owner to file suit.  McKay's blog notes the possibility of a suit after you file a counter-notice.  
In any event, this is a useful video and worthy of winning PK's contest.

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