YouTube wants users to fight for fair use

Ronny Kerr · April 22, 2010 · Short URL:

Response to Hitler parodies shows YouTube isn't just bowing down to content owners

downfallJust one day after the infamous "Downfall" parodies were nearly extinguished from the Web by copyright holder Constantin Film, YouTube has posted a statement informing users as to how they can respond to what they might believe to be wrongful takedowns.

Content ID is an automated identification system that content owners can use to quickly and easily remove videos from YouTube that the owner believes violates their copyright. YouTube says over 1,000 content owners use Content ID.

Still, the potential for abuse is great and, even before the Internet came along, the fight for fair use was a hard one. YouTube apparently understands the importance of defending the right to fair use, though.

"Hundreds of millions of people around the world now use the Web to connect and interact with content online, and a huge percentage of them go even further: they express themselves via parodies, celebrate their favorite videos with mashups, and use music in educational presentations," writes product manager Shenaz Zack, expressing YouTube's views on the matter. "The people that upload these videos are typically the biggest fans, and are exactly the kinds of consumers rights holders should be embracing."

In the spirit of fair use then, YouTube has outlined exact instructions for what one should do if one feels that his or her video has been wrongfully removed from the site and wants to restore it.

If a user's video is taken down in response to a content owner's claim, the user will receive a notice not just identifying the owner but also providing a form that a user can use to dispute a claim. Users who think their video qualifies as fair use need only mark off a box on the form reading, "This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder." Upon filing the dispute, the video in question will immediately be made available on YouTube once more. From this point forward, it is in the content owner's hands to decide whether to move forward with an official DMCA complaint to entirely remove the video.

On the lighter side, check out this video for a few laughs related to the "Downfall" takedown notice. It's highly meta.

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