Fair Use: 5 Things You Need to Know

hosts home videos for the millennial generation. Instead of popping in a DVD or waiting for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to come on, YouTube has provided a platform for videos of any genre or style to be uploaded. However, along with social media sites creating a stage for video viewing comes the unavoidable copyright law. Copyright Infringement is no laughing matter to video publishing sites like YouTube. Although stealing others professional work is illegal, fair use stipulates boundaries for the usage of such property. Before producing any video on YouTube that may be protected under fair use, the publisher must keep in mind that:

  1. Copyright does not protect every published work
  2. Fair Use only protects works that are using copyrighted content for educational proposes or considered a parody
  3. Published works not protected by Fair Use requires a source of authority to give authorization
  4. There are 4 Fair Use factors every publisher must ask his or herself
  5. Media sites will take down videos that are considered Copyright Infringement and do not fall under Fair Use

In order to better understand the list above, he or she must know the definitions of:

Copyright does not protect every published work

Copyright protects original content from the day the work was published plus 70 years after the author, creator, or publisher dies. However, content not protected by the copyright law are considered to be:

Fair Use: Education and Parody

Fair Use has stipulations a work must fall under to be protected. In order for Fair Used to be activated, the content being reused must be for educational purposes like:

The reused material must be in accordance with a student, or faculty teachers own content. In other words, the content cannot be submitted as their own. Fair Use also protects content being reused for a parody, or in other words copyrighted work that pokes fun at itself or other content. Besides educational and parody purposes, Fair Use can also be used for transformative purposes like:


For Copyrighted work that is not protected by fair use, authorization must be granted for it to be reused in anyway. For example, if a person would like to use one of Justin Timberlake’s songs as background music for their video, they must either buy the song through a domain that allows reuse or get direct authorization. Sites such as “Premium Beat” allows for the reuse of music through purchase.

4 Fair Use Factors

If you are about to publish content, whether it be a video or music and you think you are protected by fair use you must always ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. What is the character of the use?
  2. What is the nature of the copyrighted work?
  3. How much of the copyrighted work is being used?
  4. What is the effect of the use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work?

YouTube does not tolerate Copyright Infringement

If you are having trouble publishing a video and it is continuously deleted from YouTube is is most likely because the video contains material that is considered copyright infringement and is not protected by fair use. Again, if the video is using music or video clips without authorization the video will be automatically taken down.

Fair Use is not a joke and can lead to legal problems for some. Avoid Copyright Infringement by hiring Skillman Video Group to produce your next business’ video. Or if your business is just looking for guidance on video production and equipment hire us for video consultation services.

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.