YouTube launches Fair Use policy, will help content creators fight legal battles

YouTube is now siding with its content creators over games publishers.

In a blog post called ‘A Step Towards Protecting Fair Use on YouTube‘, Google copyright legal director Fred von Lohmann says that the firm is going to be defending Fair Use going forwards.

As such, it will be refusing DMCA copyright takedown notices on some videos and leaving videos on YouTube (but only in the US). If the company executing the takedown notice pursues legal action, Google will cover up to $1m of legal fees for the content creator.

Fair Use is a US legal doctrine which says people can use copyright protected material under certain circumstances – such as criticism and news reporting. In the UK we have Fair Dealing, which offers similar privileges to the media.

Since YouTube introduced Content ID and gave corporations the option of taking down videos that violate its copyright, there have been some notable abuses of the system.

In April of this year, George ‘Super Bunnyhop’ Weidman published a video entitled ‘Kojima vs Konami: An Investigation‘, looking into the feud between the two. Konami issued a takedown notice saying the video violated its copyright, but in this instanceYouTube took the side of Weidman and refused to take the video down.

Meanwhile, games critic Jim Sterling has faced similar issues with copyright takedowns. As a part of his on-going feud with indie developer Digital Homicide, Sterling had his video covering the firm’s game – The Slaughtering Grounds – taken down after the studio issued a takedown notification.

This also follows YouTube’s Content ID audio copyright detection system automatically taking down videos when it launched back in 2013.

Below is Sterling explaining YouTube’s Fair Use Protection Program:

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