YouTube and copyrights

Peer-to-peer providers and file sharers have been slammed with civil actions from the music industry for illegal copying of copyrighted materials.

Why isn’t there a hue and cry against YouTube for posting copyrighted video? I believe their original intent was to allow people to post homemade video, but there is a huge amount of DVD rips and other commercial video out there.

There is a huge hue and cry. It may be the death of YouTube yet. And the copycat sites.

Different content providers are handling it in different ways. NBC is partnering with them to allow legal showings, but:

YouTube can’t possibly police the 60,000 videos that are uploaded daily. Studios will decide whether to partner or sue.

The problem is that the DMCA says that the copyright holder is the only one who can demand that a copyrighted piece be removed. I recently found an article on MySpace and LJ that was being passed around like crazy without any acknowledgment of the original from 1999 or the author. There’s nothing I could do about it because I couldn’t find the author to notify him.

As I said, this is a huge enormous scaring-the-pants-off-people landmark lawsuit-type issue in the industry. If you haven’t heard a hue and cry, that may be an oddity in the media you check, but hueing and crying are going on at top volume everywhere.

Copyright holders are complaining, I believe, just perhaps not as loudly. I heard a piece on NPR about NBC being worried about their “lazy sunday” sketch from SNL being up there… until they realized that it got SNL way more attention than it’s had in quite a while.

The fact that they’re just distributing clips and not entire copyrighted works probably helps somewhat. But I predict YouTube’s days are numbered.

No, it doesn’t. The clips would in no way fall under Fair Use provisions, IMO. That’s why NBC could get them to take down the “Lazy Sunday” clip.

YouTube has no legal leg to stand on. The only thing that’s saving them so far is that nobody can afford to screen the millions of clips for all violations. Someone will figure out a way to do this, however, and then the injunctions will start flying.

That depends on the facts of each case. For instance, I’d guess that the linked clips in the Agony Booth review of Superman IV fall within the scope of Fair Use, as they’re textbook examples of brief excerpts reproduced for purposes of commentary and criticism.

How does that relate to the stolen video clips used with no commentary on YouTube?

And even assuming the stills on the site you give were legally obtained - highly questionable - they are placed in a critical context. This is exactly what YouTube doesn’t do.

So what’s your point?

I’d expect the RIAA to go after them too, as people put up short videos with copyrighted music. As in entire songs.

“Clips” of entire shows, you mean…