Fair Use Advocates Create Much Needed Video Content Guidelines

Nov 09, 2007
Nicole A. Ozer

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

Last week, the ACLU of Northern California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and several other public interest groups released a set of fair use guidelines for user-generated content (UGC).

With the rise of YouTube and other video-sharing sites, the phenomenon of UGC has exploded, and with it, ambiguity over what constitutes fair use has also grown.

The fair use doctrine provides that individuals may make limited use of copyrighted works for the purpose of criticism, commentary, parody, news reporting and education. However, over the past few years, videos that are otherwise protected fair use have been pulled from sites like YouTube.

These much needed guidelines help to clarify proper treatment of fair use in the UGC context.

  • 1. Content owners should afford UGC wide berth for transformative, creative use, rather than resorting to DMCA takedown notices;
  • 2. Filters must incorporate fair use protections;
  • 3. Procedures should be created for "counternotice-and-put-back" and right to sue for misrepresentation of copyright;
  • 4. Users should receive notice of DMCA takedown;
  • 5. An informal hotline should be created for people to consult advice on reconsideration of DMCA takedowns; and
  • 6. Service providers should also be required to streamline the process for reinstatement of works for fair use.