Where’s the Fair Use?


David Wees via Flickr CC

Fair Use allows someone to use copyrighted content without asking permission if it is a parody, review, added commentary, news report, or educational purpose. Copyright is used to protect the original work from being stolen.

by Jack Densmore, Editor-in-Chief

Many people have jobs, and careers. For some it’s engineering, or marketing, and for some their job, their career is, YouTube. These people are called content creators, and their job is to make content for their YouTube channel to earn revenue from ads placed on their content, but something has been stopping a lot of content creators from doing their job. Copyright. Copyright is a law created to protect the original work of an artist, author, etc, from being stolen. While this is a good law, and should always be in place, there are rules that YouTube and Hollywood aren’t following regarding to two words, Fair Use.

Fair Use goes off of the freedom of speech where someone that parodies, does a news report, or uses work for educational purposes, doesn’t need to pay for the work for Copyright. However, according to YouTube, and Hollywood, it’s the other way around. People are guilty until painfully and tirelessly proven innocent. Vides from content creators are being shut down, and removed from YouTube because of copyright when in reality they followed Fair Use. These channels that are being taken down are usually movie review channels, but all channels can be effected, because anyone can submit a copyright claim. A claim is when someone takes all of the revenue from a video they believe stole their work. Completely taking the revenue from the content creator.

So, what can content creators do to battle this? Well, they can submit appeals, but they aren’t always answered, and the claimant still has all the power. It becomes a back and forth tedious process of appeals and rejected appeals, and sometimes the claims aren’t even close to being legit. Some YouTubers have received claims that simply state “this video sucks,” but it still went through the system. So, the content creator now has to deal with the appeal process that takes a whole 30 days to go through. A complete waste of time.

Many popular content creators have come forward about their issue with this system, a system that definitely need to be fixed. The Nostalgia Critic, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, and many other YouTubers have come forward demanding change, and what YouTube needs to do is exactly what these YouTubers are demanding, change the system.

What YouTube should do is follow the actual law of copyright, and must prove that the content doesn’t follow Fair Use, such as a pirated movie, before submitting a claim or “copyright strike.” This would require the use of actual humans, and not bots in this process, but it would definitely decrease the amount of false claims. The problem most content creators have is that there are no human beings to contact about claims, so what YouTube needs to do is put some people that know their stuff about copyright and fair use to determine whether a video is really worth the claim or strike.

In the past YouTube videos have even been taking to the Supreme Court over copyright, such as Lenz v. Universal, in which Universal lost due to the Supreme Court saying the video followed Fair Use, and that companies need to make sure the video doesn’t follow fair use before submitting a claim. However, these companies still don’t follow that rule, so what YouTube needs to do is crack down on these false claims, give punishments for false claims, and actually put human beings to make sure a video is really copyright infringement. That would definitely help fix the issue, because many YouTubers are asking where’s the fair use? #WTFU