YouTube will help users fight DMCA takedowns in court


The use of other people's copyright material on YouTube is permitted in certain circumstances. Fair use rules allow for the use of copyright material for the purposes of review, parody, and more -- but this doesn't stop copyright holders from issuing DMCA takedown notices.

YouTube is a natural breeding ground for copyright violations, but there are also countless examples of fair use that end up in court. This is something that many people are scared of, and rather than fighting back, will tend to cave in. Now Google has said that it is willing to stand up for users and will defend them in court.

Google says that every minute of the days sees 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube, and a proportion of these videos reuse previously published content. Recognizing that video uploaders can be easily intimidated into taking down videos that they are perfectly entitled to upload, the company says:

We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns. With approval of the video creators, we'll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them.

We're doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA's counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it.

Unfortunately, help from Google is not going to be available to every YouTube user ("we can't offer legal protection to [...] every video that has a strong fair use defense") but the company says it will "continue to resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns".

It's a small step, but it's a start.

Photo credit: StepanPopov / Shutterstock

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