Youtube and copyright

February 8, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Word is getting around the Internet that Youtube is no longer the wild west.   Youtube is pulling down numerous video due to copyright violations.   What is a copyright violation?   Youtube has published this succinct set of guidelines, including various links for further understanding.   It’s a good starting place for anyone tempted to make use of the creative works of others without their explicit permission.

Here’s a hint: “Fair use” doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want.


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Category: Law

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Youtube has been overly cautious largeluy due to an insidious form of corporate censorship. Corporate associations like the MPAA abuse the legal system through frivilous litigation as a business tactic to bully smaller companies into compliance with warped interpretations of the law.

    Basically, our right to free speech are being hijacked by media corporations who know that, by controlling information, they can control the world.

    Back in 1997, open source advocate Richard Stallman penned a cautionary tale about how bad it may get is titled "The Right to Read"

    Wile Stallman focuses on corporate attempts to privatize control and access to literature, the laws and treaties he refers to apply equally to all forms of so called "Intellectual Property". He also fails to mention the worst of these anti-consumer laws, the UCITA, which not only considers any violation a felony, but places full enforcemnt in the hands of the corporations, and anyone accused of a violation of the UCITA is held responsible for all court costs, even if they win the case.

  2. Erich Vieth says:


    My post was descriptive, not prescriptive. I agree that the corporate media has unfairly hijacked what should be freely shared public symbols. Should there BE such a thing as intellectual property? Absolutely. But the balance is way out of whack. Consider the Sonny Bono Act – need I say more?

    My post was an attempt to point out where the law is at the moment. I think that under the sorry state of the law, YouTube is being prudent to take the positions it is taking.

    I agree with you that it's not a good situation for the public at large.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Stallman's essays delve into the disparity between copyright legislation in the public interest and legislation favoring big business. I think you would find his book "Free Software, Free society" interesting considering your legal background.

    He argues against the idea of collectively referring to copyrights, patents, and seemingly similar concepts as "intellectual property" protections, why IP is a misleading concept that is detrimental to society as a whole. He also points out how some IP protection measure are in violation of the constitution.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a perfect example of a copyright owner (the AP) abusing that copyright by suing someone creatively using that IP (an artist).

    In a pre-emptive strike, the street artist Shepard Fairey filed a lawsuit on Monday against The Associated Press, asking a federal judge to declare that he is protected from copyright infringement claims in his use of a news photograph as the basis for a now ubiquitous campaign poster image of President Obama.

    This article mentions that the artist (the creator of the famous Obama poster) is being represented by the Stanford Fair Use Project, which "was founded in 2006 to provide legal support to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries of "fair use" in order to enhance creative freedom."

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