The YouTube plot thickens…

Further follow up to my post on Wednesday regarding YouTube's automated audio-muting of user-generated videos containing unlicensed music…..

According to this piece at the Hollywood Reporter.. YouTube is taking things a step further… allowing users to REPLACE offending music in video soundtracks with pre-cleared music….  (automatically?)

I ask you again…  does this kind of filtering do any harm to Safe Harbor protections?

Did the RIAA just WIN the battle against Fair Use, and nobody noticed?

5 Responses to The YouTube plot thickens…

  1. Fair Use, as I understand it, doesn’t apply to using copyrighted music in videos, it only applies to parody, educational purposes, and/or commentary. And even then, it doesn’t allow the use of the entire song – just parts of it. (SOURCE: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/index.html) I’ve seen many instances where the entire song was used, which clearly would go beyond the boundaries of Fair Use.

    However, that’s not what has YouTube users complaining. The complaint is that the ENTIRE audio track is removed – not just the offending portion.

    • Your statement isn’t quite correct, Craig. Fair Use CAN apply to uses other than parody, education and commentary. The analysis is complicated, and involves 4 factors. No one factor is determinative. So, the nature of the alleged infringing use matters, as does the amount taken, but so does the nature of the original work, and the impact on the market for the original.

      This is one of the reasons that Fair Use isn’t something you should RELY on in making a video. Permission is the best course of action, wherever it’s feasible.

  2. My understanding goldenrail, is that the music muting/replacement is offered/required for any video that contains unlicensed music…regardless of any fair use considerations. Also, apparently, the muting is done to the ENTIRE audio track… not just the offending musical clips.

  3. Perhaps you can fill in a little more information for me. Is YouTube offering the sound replacements for videos where the music is being used in a fair use way, or only for videos that use the whole song in a non-fair use way?

  4. I’m going to take a (likely) unpopular view of this. Yes, Fair Use is important and *should* be protected.

    Think past the immediate pain and shakeout of this and tell me if it isn’t possible that by doing this, some YouTube producers will choose to either 1) license music legally before they put their videos up, or 2) create their own, original score for their videos. I personally think that would be a net positive if more music was created and less music was UNfairly used. When professional producers want to make a film, they certainly don’t use uncleared music, instead they either clear the rights or they create original scores. Where would we be if “Chariots of Fire” had decided to nick “Runnin With The Devil” since it was easier? I’m hoping that by reducing the amount of non fair use occurrences, the true fair use can be given permission and the craft may improve with the influx of original music created by musicians and composers since stealing will become more difficult.

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