YouTube has declared that the company will go to court to defend the rights of film-makers who have been wrongly accusing of copyright infringement via US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown orders.
Over the years, creatives have become increasingly wary about posting content to video streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo due to intimidation from copyright holders. In many cases, copyright holders present takedown orders for content they may or may not actually own rights to. Once a takedown order is issued, filing a complex counter notification order can be arbitrary, confusing, and in the worst case scenario, open a larger can of worms most independent creators aren’t prepared to handle.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, posted a statement on Thursday, November 19th from Google’s Copyright Legal Director, Fred von Lohmann. According to the statement, “Some [YouTube] uploads make use of existing content, like music or TV clips, in new and transformative ways that have social value beyond the original (such as a parody or critique). In the U.S. this activity is often protected by fair use, a crucial exception to copyright law which can help discussion and creativity across different mediums to continue flourishing.” Google has gone a step further to provide a list of fair use examples on YouTube’s website.
While Google acknowledges that it cannot promise to protect every video creator, they are dedicated to resisting intimidation and unjust DMCA takedown orders to promote a creative and inclusive environment within the YouTube community. Google hopes that moving forward, both content creators and copyright holders alike will have a better understanding of what constitutes as fair use content.