Navigating and Understanding Youtube Copyright Infringement with Creative Commons

Last year I really got into movie making. When I say "movie making" I am using this in the most amateur terms, as my movies have been primarily about scuba diving and travel.

I also started making a series of educational vidoes under the title "Rock Star Productions". I've made roughly 30 last year pertaining to math and science and my primary audience are the parents of the students I teach and other educators looking for lesson plan ideas. They are not informational content for students. Lord knows there is enough of that out there.

Making new content with copyrighted material is a delicate subject. Big producers are loss averse and putting up a video with copyrighted MP3's woven into media might set off some alarms on youtube such as this:

Videos with copyrighted material will show notifications on your youtube Video Manager Page

The above are some of the first videos my students made for educational purposes four years ago, before we had our own school's youtube page. I have kept these for sentimental reasons, and was thinking about deleting them, but decided to delve into the copyright infringement with explanations about what each notification means. Usually, remixing something for educational purposes exempts this problem, although corporations may not feel the same. Here's what they mean:

Matched Third Party Content-Basically this means that owners of the original content (most likely a song) are able to collect revenue that the media makes. If you were to sell it, they would have a claim on the sale. There are also implications if you decide to place ads on your youtube page, although you may not be able to until the video is removed or claim resolved.

Video Blocked in Some Countries-The owners of the content may block users in some countries notably like the US and some European and Asian countries.

Audio Muted in Some Countries-Means exactly what it says. Similar to the former, but the visual will be there but with the audio cut off.


Disputing Claims With Youtube
There is a paragraph in copyright law will allows for the exemption of such material. Some have had luck by going to their youtube page to dispute the claim by pasting in the following paragraph:

"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

This claim written in very lawyer friendly terms, but it may not have the teeth that you might have hoped. I used this paragraph to dispute a claim for a video that I made following a field trip (Hello! Field Trip! Educational!) where I used some songs by pretty current artists such as The Lumineers, Face to Face, Goldfinger and Phillip Phillips. At the end of the video I gave credit to these artists, but still got some guff after posting the video. After disputing the claim, this is what I received:


Despite my well written dispute and ongoing rebuttal, youtube still has the right to block my video. As you can see, they dropped the claim from the band "Face to Face" and not by "Phillip Phillips" who are both under the UMG lable. Interestingly, they have not blocked some other videos I have made with other artists, who are popular but not as popular such as Mr. Phillip Phillips who has just come riding off the crest of an American Idol season with many correlating endorsements.


Enter Creative Commons
As a teacher or student starting to create a line of work, the most easy way around this is creative commons. I've just started using CC this spring and it's made my life much easier. You can bookmark "Creative Commons Search" or also install a CC search button into your web toolbar like below:


After that you can search for any kind of material (images, media, music) that are all fair use. Despite this, I still acknowledge at the end of the video that these are all licensed under creative commons policy.

As my students are making more digital media, mainly though blogging, I'm surprised at how seamless my students have switched over to using CC last spring as their primary image search. It's good practice, and won't lead to deletions and problems down the line.


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