Kit Steinkellner
November 19, 2015 5:44 pm

So, as we know, there is a specific (and awesome) subset of YouTubers that love nothing more than to play around with copyrighted material like films and TV clips. This is where parodies and autotuned remixes come from, which are totally legal things covered under United States fair use law.

That said, YouTubers that enhance and transform copyrighted content are still all too often threatened with legal action by copyright owners. And the scary thing about  legal action is that even if someone isn’t in the wrong, it can still be bananas expensive for that person to prove that they were actually in the right.

YouTube gets that, and now they’re stepping up for their makers in a big way. Today, as Popular Science reports, YouTube’s legal director Fred Von Lohmann released a statement that explained that YouTube will  “now protect some of the best examples of fair use on YouTube, by agreeing to defend them in court, if necessary.”

Lohmann goes on to explain that they are offering legal support  “to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses” and have been subject to takedowns.

“With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them,” Lohmann states. What he doesn’t say is that YouTube could be covering up to millions of dollars in fees, so this is a HUGE helping hand YouTube is offering.

In addition to helping these individual YouTubers who find themselves in legal tangles, Lohmann hopes that this program can, in time, help create ” a demo reel will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.”

“We believe even the small number of videos we are able to protect will make a positive impact on the entire YouTube ecosystem, ensuring YouTube remains a place where creativity and expression can be rewarded,” Lohmann concludes.

We are so glad that YouTube is standing up for its contributors in such a powerful way and using its platform to both educate about fair use and defend its users from suits that infringe on their legal rights.

Related reading:

Here’s why we’re making space on our phones for YouTube music

Happy Birthday, YouTube! In celebration, check out YouTube’s first video

(Image via Shutterstock)

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