Is YouTube Blocking Your Vids? Exercise Your Right To Fair Use!

We’ve heard from a number of people that YouTube has recently blocked a number of fanvids due to alleged music rights violations. But YouTube also provides a mechanism for vidders to assert their right to fair use: a quick and easy dispute process.

YouTube recognizes that there are legitimate artistic and critical reasons to use copyrighted material, and the online form gives, as a potential reason for dispute: “This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder. It is a fair use under copyright law.” The form also asks you to explain further.

Fair use is a muscle: it gets stronger when you exercise it, so if you believe that your vid is fair use, that it transforms copyrighted material for a new critical or creative purpose, you should dispute the claim.

Here are some resources you might consult to explain why your vid is fair use:

1) The Best Practices in User-Generated Content released by the American University Center for Social Media. (Their main site on fair use is here.)

2) The EFF’s Test Suite of Fair Use Examples for Service Providers and Content Owners; the test suite features a vid.

3) The Q&A with Fan Vidder Luminosity in New York Magazine.

4) Michael Wesch’s Anthropological Introduction to YouTube presented to the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008 (features Lim’s vid “Us” among other videos).

5) Other academic and legal articles about vidding include:

Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground. Reason Magazine, August/September 2008

Francesca Coppa, Women, Star Trek, and the Development of Fannish Vidding in Transformative Works and Cultures (2008)

Henry Jenkins, How to Watch a Fan Vid (2006)

Sarah Trombley, Visions and Revisions: Fanvids and Fair Use (.pdf), 25 Cardozo Arts & Ent. J. 647 (2008)

Rebecca Tushnet, User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice (.pdf), 31 COLUM. J.L. & ARTS 110 (2008)

And don’t forget Fanlore: one stop shopping for trying to explain to people what fannish things mean!