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YouTube steps in to help legally defend select videos against DMCA takedowns

YouTube steps in to help legally defend select videos against DMCA takedowns

November 19, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

YouTube is making a show of support for videos on its platform that make fair use of copyrighted material by pledging to back select creators in the U.S. who have videos the company perceives to be good examples of fair use subjected to DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedowns.

It's worth noting that one of the videos YouTube cites as a great example of fair use depicts YouTuber ProJared playing the Xbox game Drake of the 99 Dragons, suggesting that it's not unfeasible the company may step in to defend video game YouTubers against DMCA takedowns it perceives to be unfair.

"We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns," reads a blog post from YouTube legal exec Fred von Lohmann. "With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them," up to a total of $1 million. 

However, it's yet unclear how broadly YouTube plans to stretch this support or exactly what it takes for a video under threat of a DMCA takedown to be included in the "handful" which the company will help defend. 

Also keep in mind that many video game YouTubers run afoul of YouTube's automated ContentID system, which has nothing to do with the DMCA. For more on the distinction, check out this blog post from video game lawyer Mona Ibrahim deconstructing copyright law, ContentID and its relationship to video game Let's Play videos.

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