Copyright content in YouTube videos has become a contentious issue over recent years, with a begrudging truce set out between rights holders, YouTube and content creators that seems to work reasonably well. Currently, whenever you upload a video that features copyright content , YouTube will do one of two things. It will either automatically monetise the video with adverts, and then pass the proceeds onto the copyright holder, or it will remove the video entirely.
The former option means the uploader gets to show off their video without censorship, and the rights holder gets to make a bit of cash, which seems like a win-win situation. However, option 2 means the uploader loses their video and the rights holder doesn’t make any more. As pointless as this may seem, it does happen from time to time, with particular artists and labels taking a very firm stance on their content appearing on YouTube.
One such example is this video of a 13-month old toddler dancing around to “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince, where the record label in question issued an immediate take-down request as it featured 29 seconds of copyrighted music in the background. However, in this case a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has upheld the decision by a federal judge in San Jose to dismiss the record company’s claim, on the grounds that this constitutes fair usage of the music.
According to one of the legal team in question, the ruling “sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech”.
I have to say that I agree with them.