YouTube says it is expanding its fair use protection to include paying up to $1 million in legal fees to support video creators who receive copyright claims.
In a bold move by the company, YouTube announced today that it will pick up the tab – up to $1 million – to help select content creators fight off copyright claims. The decision is a part of YouTube’s plans to support video creators and expand its fair use protection.
Naturally, YouTube won’t protect every video that receives a takedown request, but said it will cover the legal costs of those videos it deems worthy of protection. According to the YouTube fair use page:
"This ensures those creators have a chance to protect their work, and makes the entire creative world better by educating people on both the importance and limits of fair use doctrine."
A new video from YouTuber Jim Sterling shares some details about the new policy shown below.
The powers-that-be at YouTube will assess videos on a case-by-case basis to determine if they fall within YouTube’s criteria for fair use, and if it’s expedient for the company to support them. This policy from YouTube isn’t very surprising, considering video creators draw viewers, who in turn watch ads, which is where YouTube makes the bulk of its revenue. If copyright claims get out of hand, YouTube creators may cut back on their work, or stop altogether – both actions YouTube would like to avoid.
We’ll point out that this protection extends only to individual videos, and not to the creators themselves. The reason for this is simple: it’s easier to protect work that’s already been created, rather than try and support a person with a library of works and the potential to break copyright laws in the future.
While this is important for YouTubers of all genres, it’s especially important for gaming YouTubers who often share videos of themselves or others playing copyrighted games. And according to YouTube, as long as these creators aren’t affecting the original creator’s (the game developers) ability to profit from the original content, it’s protected under fair use.
Chances are, most game developers are pleased with the success of gaming YouTubers, since it’s an effective and cheap marketing tool for promoting new and upcoming games. So there’s a good chance these companies aren’t interested in sending takedown requests to YouTubers.
However, there have been many instances of developers suing or threatening YouTubers into taking down content because the video creator said or showed something negative. Hopefully this new support from YouTube will give YouTubers the confidence they need to continue creating videos as long as they abide by the fair use rules.
What do you think about YouTube’s plan to pay legal fees to help video creators fight copyright claims? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.