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YouTube Copyright School [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, April 14, 2011
12 years ago10,627 views

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Although this video presents YouTube's copyright policies with a subliminal sneer towards current copyright law, it's a bit rich coming from a corporation which profits from unauthorized book scanning, reproduction of image thumbnails, etc.

It really sounds like this is just YouTube's way of making sure that any liability is borne by its users, without YouTube doing anything positive itself.

Examples of positive campaigns that could be undertaken would be

- education to make sure everyone gets the fullest available use of "fair use" and "fair dealing" provisions of copyright law

- clear license labelling of YouTube content whose owners permit re-use and re-mixing

- lobbying the government to reform copyright law to increase the scope for creative re-use of content


Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> unauthorized book scanning

Though if you consider their book scanning Fair Use then current laws do authorize Google to scan books. I feel authorized by Fair Use laws to scan any book I can get my hands on... the library in my hometown also had a copy machine for that purpose. (Note: You may of course argue that Google's book scanning is not Fair Use. I'm just saying it's worth of at least some debate whether or not it is...)

The problem with much of the "corporate copyright culture" we live in is the perception that you always need authorization, when Fair Use specifically does not require such. People often ask me e.g. if they may use an image of Vintage Ad Browser for, say, a research or school project. They've lost valuable time just asking me because they have the power of Fair Use laws, which I then point them to, asking them to decide if they feel it's Fair (because I don't hold special ownership over the images either).

> Examples of positive campaigns that could be undertaken would be

Excellent points, those. Why is it that corporations always seem to educate arguing for *one* side of copyright only?

But I agree, Google probably only does this to protect themselves. It is at least partly the spirit of creativity and remixing that got YouTube to where it is today, not the "corporate copyright culture" spirit they may pose with now (if that's what they did – can't access YouTube from China).

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Don't misunderstand me. I certainly think Google is morally entitled to scan books.

But they are not authorized to do so. The Fair Use clauses in the United States do not "authorize" anything. They merely outline an allowable *defence* against a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Does any other country even have a "Fair Use" provision? Not as far as I know. The United Kingdom, and some other Commonwealth countries, have "Fair Dealing" clauses but these are much weaker, being about academic use and the quoting of excerpts for reviews.

The "old-school copyright paradigm" is unsustainable and will inevitably collapse in the near future. Google has a choice: help to shape the new paradigm, or fight to prolong the old paradigm to appease their content partners. YouTube seems to have firmly chosen the latter.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> The Fair Use clauses in the United States do
> not "authorize" anything.

I'm not sure about the legal terms, but let me rephrase: you don't always need authorization to copy. I hope more people understand this. If the actual phrasing of the law is "you are never allowed to quote but Fair Use offers you a defense if you commit this crime", then the law is incredibly misleading and doesn't give people the rights they should have in clear words, at all.

Worth noting that it's often questionable who owns certain words or images in the first place, as ideas keep wandering throughout the centuries from person to person, and institution to institution. Just look at all the fairy tales Disney copied... they were big on mashing content (how much Felix the Cat appearance was quoted in the Mickey Mouse appearance?)! If most works are modifications of older works, then who can actually say they own it?

> YouTube seems to have firmly chosen the latter.

On paper, maybe. I think in practice though the effect is that the existence of YouTube weakens the old school paradigm you mention. For instance, a German mainstream news site like Spiegel Online these days often includes YouTube videos in their articles, videos for which one would presume they don't have any particular copyright, yet they show them off on their site. By accepting this kind of sharing, they're also helping to push it – I mean, if they have content then by the same approach I could share it on my site (and if they fight it, one could ask the court why they do it themselves).

> Does any other country even have a "Fair Use" provision?

Well, I think most countries allow you to quote text. For some reasons, the restrictions for quoting from other media (say, a video clip from someone else included in your own video clip) seems often much harsher.

And the second question: which country's laws do apply anyway in the age of the web...

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a copyright-free world...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a
> copyright-free world...

Creativity would flourish, business would be more efficient, society's resources would be diverted away from courts and lawyers towards more productive use. What's not to like?

And yes, there would still be people who make their living from producing content. Just like there are people who make their living selling bottled water, even though it's not forbidden to get water from a tap. Just like there are people who make money selling boxes of matches, even though the patent on matches ran out a long time ago. Just like there are restaurants making money selling Spaghetti Bolognese, even though everyone is allowed to copy this dish at home. Just like there were professional musicians before copyright law was extended to cover music.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Here's an interesting blog post discussing that "Larry, Serge and Eric could buy the entire music industry with their personal money". No doubt Google's corporate spare change could buy a huge chunk of the movie industry too.

Then, Google could migrate the world to a new licensing regime of their choosing. If could even be a non-evil regime, if Google wanted it to.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Well, their Google Music site in China is actually pretty cool already... you search for anything then stream it for free (or download as MP3, you don't need to be logged in either). You can't find every song in the world but there's a huge, huge selection of all kinds of music. (might be searchable from outside the US too, playback should be disabled though)

Sorry, I don't comment specifically on the blog post as Blogspot is blocked here in China.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google Music China is searchable from the UK though not playable. The site is quite interesting. If you search for a band like Creedence Clearwater Revival, all of their music seems to be there. But if you search for The Beatles, you get lots of music "in the style of The Beatles" or "as made famous by The Beatles".

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #


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