Since I’ve been posting recently about copyright and infringement and YouTube, I figured I should watch the video they have posted for “Copyright School.” Although I tried to embed the video into this post it appears it’s not working. So you can find the link here.
The video itself is moderately annoying. The song used through out the video kind of reminds me of this song. It explains the bare bones basics of copyright works and how copyright can work on YouTube. It shows how copying a video is copyright infringement, and how potentially filming a live concert can be considered copyright infringement. Although they didn’t explain it was infringement because of the song not because of the video itself.
The fair use part is rather deplorable. However, this is to be expected. I’m sure whenever the writers got to this section the lawyers heavily edited it. I’d argue that it’s overly protective of YouTube. By stating that most remixes are likely to be outside of fair use, the video makes it very safe for YouTube itself. Youtube can point to this video and say, “See we told them those remixes weren’t allowed under fair use.” However, this is not entirely accurate. In fact the very video they use to explain this problem most likely is covered by fair use. Realistically, there’s no difference between the video Youtube uses and Numa Numa.
I’m not an expert at fair use, so I decided to post some commentary from one person who is. Here’s a pretty good discussion between Colbert and Lawrence Lessig. In this they discuss how remixing is and should be ok under fair use. It can benefit both parties. Here’s a blog post written by Lessig describing some of the failures of the fair use system as well.
So what can we gather from these two discussions and the YouTube video? First, YouTube is clearly putting itself in a position to not be liable for any work that may not actually fall under fair use. Second, it’s difficult to determine what is and what is not fair use. Lessig also points out that there is a dividing line between commercializing the work and keeping it for free. I’d suggest as much as possible to clearly understand these issues before attempting to commercialize any remixes.
In the terms of the internet commercialization isn’t the same as it used to be. Placing ads on your blogs or within your videos basically commercializes your work.