YouTube has pledged its support to film-makers accused of copyright infringement on its site, promising that it will go to court to defend those who it believes have been wrongly accused.
The move has been designed to combat abuse of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which allows for putative copyright holders to demand a site take down user generated content or face expensive lawsuits.
YouTube will offer legal support to creators which its parent company, Google, believes represents “clear fair uses” in the hope that it will prevent overreaching take-down notices for works which the copyright holder has no legal authority over.
In an effort to provide guidelines on acceptable works successful cases will be featured in a special section on YouTube’s site dedicated to showcasing examples of fair use.
YouTube’s copyright legal director, Fred von Lohmann, said the company decided to act because “creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it”.
In addition to protecting the individual creator von Lomann maintains that it “could, over time, create a ‘demo reel’ that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.”
While there is the opportunity for an individual to submit a “counter notification order” the process is complex and can led to further legal penalties and so users often acquiesce to the takedown order. YouTube’s copyright pledge will help it legitimise the content on its platform and help it standout from rival Facebook which has been widely accused of failing to monitor copyright infringements.