Youtube: Fair Use and Copyright


Im sure most, if not all of you are familiar with youtube, but recently there has been a lot of backlash from content creators about how the youtube copyright system works. Basically, almost anyone can file a claim on a video for copyright or disobeying the youtube community guidelines. Some claims give the channel in question a strike. These strikes apply restrictions to the channel and if you get three, your channel is deleted. Anything you’ve built up to that point is gone. And the shitty part is, the strikes take a long time to remove. I think the minimum time is 6 months.

The main concern is Fair Use. Basically, its taking something of someone else’s creation, and using it in a trans-formative manner. So now its your own individual content and youre not blantantly stealing. The thing is, there has been much debate on how much the source material must be changed for it to be considered fair use and many people are exploiting youtubes flawed system to steal revenue from people, or just use it as a way of revenge.

You may or may not be familiar with H3H3 Productions. Recently, they have been sued; yes, sued; because they made a video on someone who was angry and wanted revenge. Heres the video where Ethan and Hilia talk about the suit.

Youtuber GradeAUnderA has talked about the fucked youtube system in the past as well and makes some very clear points in his video as well. this is a two parter.

The main point im trying to make here, is that content creators are being attacked by bitter people looking to snatch some cash. If you in any capacity, care about the future of youtube and the careers of people who want to put themselves out there and make their own things, then please spread the first video around. It actually eats me up inside to see how unfair things are for some. I know thats life and all, but i want to see the things that are right actually succeed for once. And i know, the fair use debate is nothing new, but this is the first time ive seen anyone on youtube get sued for something that is clearly in their favor. Something needs to change, and its not gonna start until someone actually tries to change it.


This subject as been brought up a few times before. Seems to elevate every time:


im aware. It just pisses me off. I mean i dont idolize these guys or anything, its just shitty that they’re getting sued for something totally legal, by a butthurt guy. Im just posting this all over because i want to support them. Theyre getting screwed over and i dont see anything wrong with using some clips from another creator and adding their own commentary to it. Honestly im fuming. People suck


Well if it is legal then the judge should stop the suit yes?


Watch IHateEverything’s “Cool Cat Saves The Kids” series. Basically he made a review of this shitty movie called “Cool Cat Saves The Kids” about a dude in a fur suit who taught kids how cyber bullying is wrong, and the dude viciously attacked him and had his account suspended indefinitely for copyright.

When people started fighting back after hearing what happened to him, they brought him back, without so much as an apology for taking away Alex’s (IHE’s) job, his career, his livelihood away from him. The series from start to finish is crazy.


It doesn’t usually go to court. That costs a lot of money and youtube likes to avoid that kind of thing. As such, they generally just go along with it and tell the youtuber in question that they have no option and must pay fine/delete content (usually both) or they’ll lose their channel.

Youtube hasn’t updated their guidelines in years, so “fair use” is obscure at best, so it can be abused and interpreted all kinds of ways without going outside of the “law”.

Now for my unpopular opinion:

While I get that it’s frustrating to have to deal with shit because of someone reporting because they can, it’s also the content creator’s duty, their responsibility as a creator, to make absolutely certain their content is within the guidelines. Because the guidelines are obscure, people tend to disagree with me here, but I’m not wrong. The person giving the content has to make sure their stuff doesn’t offend people or break rules. They can leave no wiggle room, no room for interpretation, not a shadow of a doubt that their content isn’t theirs, and that is their responsibility, no question about it. Those have always been the rules and it’s fairly straightforward, regardless of semantics.

This doesn’t mean I think the complaints were justified by any means, god no. That was people being assholes and reporting just because they have a button for it. What it does imply is that I believe it’s entirely prevent-able for youtubers by taking it upon themselves to make sure they review their stuff, cite, and edit properly. If nothing is left to scrutinize, then there can be no complaint, and it’s their onus, not the general public’s, not youtube’s, to make sure their content is fit for viewing online all over the world.


Imma put my 2 cents in-

Copyright: the current system is shit. Now I believe if a video gets a strike, the AD money goes into a seperate account and the winner gets the money.

Fair use: Shia Lebouf’s “Just Do It” falls under fair use imo. People can edit it so it’s not like the original. Now reach channels who upload the whole videos with their facecams is not fair use. they did not alter the original content, but merely added onto it. This is basically stealing a video.

The problem now is that there is no system that detects if a channel reporting the copyright strike was the actual uploader.


Still like YMS’ breakdown of fair use for those who are confused about it.