SAN BRUNO, Calif. – YouTube announced on Thursday a Fair Use Protection program to defend content creator’s rights against legal threats from copyright owners. The company wrote on its blog it will protect some video creators whose content represent fair use by paying up to $1 million of legal costs for any copyright lawsuits brought against them.

The firm believes that certain videos taken down through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are great examples of fair use, which is nothing but a legal doctrine that affirms people can reuse copyright-protected content even when they haven’t got permission from the copyright owner, as long as that content complies specific requirements. A video represents fair use when its final product conveys social value beyond the original in the format of a remix, parody or news criticism, for instance.

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Every minute over 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. The firm clarified it will not be able to defend every video that has a strong fair use defense, but that it will keep on resisting legally unsupported DMCA takedowns.

“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”, the blog post stated.

Each year YouTube will choose a small amount of individual videos by taking into account a variety of factors. Those videos that best represent fair use will be selected and the company will get in contact with their respective video creators. The firm will not receive requests to defend any video.

Once the cases have been chose, YouTube reassured video creators that their content will remain on YouTube in the U.S. and will be featured in the YouTube Copyright Center as substantial examples of fair use.

Creators are often intimidated by the DMCA’s counter-notification process and tend to remove fair use videos to avoid having to go through the whole thing. Fred von Lohmann, YouTube copyright legal director, writes that the company has launched the program to stop that. He added that the Fair Use Protection program could help both copyright owners and individual creators to better understand what does fair use consists of. He hopes that, as a consequence, the people who integrate the YouTube community will achieve best practices in terms of content development.

Source: Business Insider