YouTube Will Spend Up to $1 Million to Defend Certain Creators Facing Copyright Disputes

YouTube Will Spend Up to $1 Million to Defend Certain Creators Facing Copyright Disputes
Image credit: 2015 Digital Content NewFronts, Doug Goodman Photography for IAB
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

Limited-Time Savings: 60% Off of Our Social Media Books

Use code SOCIAL2021 through 5/27/21 to get these books, for less.
Former Staff Writer
3 min read

YouTube is taking initial steps to defend a handful of creators who are embroiled in copyright disputes by pledging up to $1 million (in each case) to defend “some of the best examples of fair use” on its platform, wrote the company’s copyright legal director Fred von Lohmann.

Fair use is the repurposing of copyright-protected material in instances including criticism, remixes and commentary -- or, as von Lohmann puts it, “in new and transformative ways that have social value beyond the original.”

However, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which governs such skirmishes, often serves as a splitting headache for creators, and, in many cases, a surreptitious tool for censorship. That’s because when rights holders submit a DMCA claim, YouTube is required to remove the video in question. While creators can submit counterclaims or wage long and costly legal battles, the content remains deleted until the matter is resolved.

Seeking to buck this imbalance, a high-profile ruling in September concluded that copyright holders must consider fair use before filing a takedown notice.

Related: Legal Basics: What You Need to Know About the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

But now, YouTube is hoping to turn the tables even further by standing behind four embattled creators. In addition to keeping the reported videos online, the company will cover the cost of any lawsuits brought against them. You can check out the initial set of videos -- which represent just a “small percentage” of such disputes, YouTube acknowledges -- right here.

YouTube’s foray into the copyright fray is also presumably a push to show support for its community of creators amid an explosion of rival video platforms. Facebook, which now counts 8 billion video views every day, is plagued by copyright complaints of its own, including ‘freebooting,’ whereby video creators claim their content is being stolen from YouTube and uploaded to Facebook, thus robbing them of viewership and ad dollars.

In addition to standing firmly behind fair use, YouTube rolled out another nifty tool for creators today. Given that 60 percent of video views typically occur outside of a creator’s home country, it says, the platform has launched a marketplace whereby creators can purchase translations.

In addition, creators can opt to crowdsource translated subtitles and closed captioning via viewers, or even add their own translated titles and descriptions that will automatically display to viewers in their native languages.

Related: YouTube Is Seeing 'Red' With Brand New $10 Monthly Ad-Free Subscription Service

More from Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur Select: A Fund For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs require more than just money, which is why we aim to empower you, as well as act as a catalyst for value creation.

Through 5/27/21, save on our collection of recommended social media books, including:
  • No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing
  • Ultimate Guide to Youtube for Business
  • Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising
  • And more
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur