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YouTube should support creators, not encourage them to cut out valid fair-use clips, digital rights group says

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As part of their Copyright Week, the EFF decided to address the YouTube situation, saying that YouTube should be promoting and arguing on behalf of creators when it comes to fair use, instead of just providing tools that remove copyrighted works.

Katharine Trendacosta, manager of policy and activism, called out YouTube’s “new tool that’s supposed to help users respond to its copyright filter” saying, “Is it something that makes fair use a priority? No, it’s a way to make it easier to remove the part of a video that someone has claimed they own.”

If you’re a content creator on YouTube, or if you’ve been following our coverage of the video-sharing platform, you’d know that Trendacosta’s assessment is spot on – which is why it’s been so easily and frequently abused; because it tries to address the wrong problem in the wrong way.

YouTube just offers a way for creators to cut out copyrighted content, instead of promoting fair use.

She goes on to explain the problem with the current system. “Videos critiquing a film or song are going to include clips from that video or song. It makes the point stronger. In the same way that high school English classes teach students to put quotes in their essays to make their point stronger, people working in visual and audio formats do the same thing.”

She also points out that fair use allows for content to be used “for purposes like commentary and criticism without having to get permission or pay the copyright holder,” and that YouTube’s Content ID auto-detection system “isn’t based on fair use,” since it flags matching audio or video content if used in mere seconds of the overall content, regardless of reasoning.

“By making eliminating material flagged by Content ID so easy—just click here!—and making challenging matches so perilous, YouTube has put its thumb on the scale against fair use and in favor of copyright abuse. That thumb gets especially heavy given how few real alternatives to YouTube exist,” the Trendacosta said.

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