Zachary Hiller Law YouTube Copyright Claims

YouTube can be a fascinating place. Who hasn’t fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos, leaping from recipe guides to music videos; DIY home remodeling to comedic stand-up? In fact, YouTube is such a behemoth that it is considered to be one of the largest search engines, second only to its parent company, Google.  Over 100 hours of video content are uploaded to the site every minute. With this much content it is no wonder that YouTube has its share of copyright infringement claims to resolve. So what does the average user need to know about YouTube copyright claims?

YouTube Copyright Claims

As a copyright attorney, I find the wild world of social media, in particular YouTube, a YouTube Copyright Claims Zachary Hiller Law Houston, TXfascinating topic. All of YouTube’s content is created by its users, and uploaded by its users. YouTube has clear policies in place in terms of prohibited content, including content that violates copyright laws. These policies are only enforced after the video has already been uploaded, so in theory there is quite a bit of content that has not been caught yet. And when it does, the consequences vary.

A great example of this is highlighted in a recent article by Jason Koebler on Vice’s Motherboard. The article highlights the odd case of videos featuring the Weezer song, ‘Hash Pipe.’ Many users had uploaded guitar tutorials featuring the song. Most of the videos had their audio removed although the videos were still live. I highly recommend the article, which points to some of the challenges of YouTube Copyright Claims, for users and copyright holders. It teaches a great lesson in challenges of copyright law including some of these highlights:

  1. YouTube can’t really prevent infringing videos from being uploaded. It can only react when it is brought to their attention. The process is not unlike any other copyright claim. Copyright law does not prevent your creation from being pirated, it simply offers recourse after the fact.
  2. On YouTube, there are countless posts that offer everything from free instructional videos to satire and quirky critiques. As the article shows, YouTube tends to favor the copyright holder initially. But, as any copyright attorney knows, there is a fine line between between fair-use and copyright infringement. Fair use allows for the use of brief snippets of copyrighted material for criticism, parody or education. Typically, this only applies to small portions of the copyrighted material and not the whole thing.
  3. There is more than one way handle infringement on YouTube. The site offers users the opportunity to mute the sound, change the background music to a copyright friendly version or even monetize the post, which basically amounts to a profit sharing licensing fee for the use of the copyrighted material. In the greater world of copyright law there is similar flexibility to negotiate a solution to copyright infringement, from licensing agreements to removal of the offending content.

The most compelling take away, however, is that copyright law can be confusing and frustrating to navigate. If you find yourself struggling with a copyright issue you need to contact an attorney that specializes in these issues. Contact Zachary Hiller today!

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