When I started writing earlier this year, I already had knowledge of copyright laws and how copyright claims are handled.
Some organizations are surfing the most popular websites like YouTube, Medium, etc, and flagging content for copyright infringement.
I am glad I didn't immediately start a YouTube career, as I would have certainly failed and perhaps risked having my work deleted. This is not because I don't care for copyright, I am not entirely against it. The law is clear on the entertainment sector but it seems that far too much content is getting flagged, even when content is just reused from the public domain.
Most claims are correct since video content creators may use audio or video from content that falls in the commercial category of copyright. As a weiter, I wouldn't like it my content to be used without permission, either. Although, there is also content that should be examined with a different approach.
I did a lot of research lately on YouTube and how it handles copyright.
Inclusion of copyright-protected material needs permission from the owner of the copyright
YouTube doesn't grand these rights and doesn't have a process for this
Verbal permission is not enough
An artist's permission may not be enough either, since the copyright may require various permissions
Even a recording of the copyrighted material (like a live show) requires written permission from the copyright owners.
Equally important is the part explained about the procedure YouTube uses to remove content.
YouTube has an AI that scans for copyrighted material and automatically removes those uploads infringing this right. However, there are companies with the sole purpose of finding copyrighted material uploaded on YouTube and requesting immediate deletion. YouTube has to respond to Copyright law, but more than often there will be cases of public domain or Creative Commons content being requested for removal.
YouTube has no obligation to delete content unless it is first contacted by the copyright owner. This has created most of the confusion on copyright laws.
The fundamental question for anyone is how a video that infringed copyright laws stays up for years and profits from this.
The reason is that YouTube allowed it in the initial upload phase and there was no other report against this content so far by the copyright owner.
Whatever. Few understand all the details in this law, but a content creator barely has a reason to proceed with copyright infringement knowingly.
Still, everything I have read so far is about content that is movies or music. It is something most content creators already understand well and still will fill their content too often with the content used without permission but with certain methods that seem to work so far.
It gets weird, very often though. Streamers are lately live-streaming their reaction watching other videos on YouTube. Is this not copyright infringement? It gets even worse when the gaming industry also restrains anyone from using images from the games purchased, although there are thousands of streamers on platforms like Twitch and YouTube, profiting by playing games.
Well, each company has a more informal standing on streaming. It is helping the industry, so it would be a mistake to proceed with copyright claims against gaming streamers.
You are free to monetize your content via partner programs, such as the YouTube and Twitch partner programs, unless your videos happen to include copyrighted music that is identified by the site's content ID systems.
Any other use of our content in videos must be non-commercial. Please do not charge users to view or access your videos, or sell or license your videos to others for a payment of any kind.
I'm not sure but I think that all streaming videos are licensed and copyrighted as well.
Twitch for example states clearly:
Examples of content you must not share include:
Other Twitch creators’ content
Pirated games or content from unauthorized private servers
Content from other sites
Movies, television shows, or sports matches
Music you do not own or do not have the rights to share
All the top Twitch streamers have violated most of these guidelines.
What about the images though? As in taking a screenshot in game and using it for an article.
The copyright laws are vague and, under different circumstances that have reached the courtrooms, the judge’s decisions have been contradicting.
Courts have even acknowledged the fact that publishing content in lower quality does not infringe on copyright law. But even that is not allowed lately.
There are images captured by photographers that are under copyright and, of course, can only be used under their permission or purchased. This is their job, and the content is respected. There are also some licenses like Creative Commons that allow the content to be used.
We can embed a video clip from another platform (e.g. YouTube) and publish it in our posts on the writing platforms we use. However, we may not take a screenshot from this video and use it in our content.
The reason some lawmakers are giving is that the video is embedded, so the actual footage counts as a visit to the original website where it was uploaded (i.e. YouTube) while the image (screenshot) is not. I’m not sure YouTube counts embedded views. Maybe it does, but I haven’t tested it, yet.
But the reality with video content is that without permission we are not allowed to use any screenshot from a video clip.
Screenshots from Youtube are not allowed for use in blogs or any form of written content unless again the copyright holder provides written permission.
What about when:
-the video captures important events or news, or content important for the education of the public,
- is from another decade (the 80s) making it difficult to find the copyright owner
- is low quality (480p or even lower),
- It is screenshots from YouTube video content that doesn't belong to the video uploader but he used it anyway (with or without permission, still no mention)
- the video originates from an 80s VCR tape, recorded by a random viewer.
- it contains the voice of a person asking for help
- It is real NEWS footage and not a movie
- A popular YouTuber just grabbed it from another Youtuber and added in his content, nobody knows where the original source is anymore
- And finally, when this screenshot is used without any permission but manages to reach a discovery that would bring significant positive effects like :
A solution to a crime, or expose a criminal
Shed light to a difficult situation
Bring justice and help anyone interested reach a fair conclusion
Educate the public
Be used as evidence of corruption/scandals/manipulation/censorship
In my opinion, copyright should not apply in news at all. News is content important for the spread of knowledge of events. Its importance is beyond entertainment value.
Video footage, though, and photographs, are required, and it usually takes a professional to be at the right time in the right place and take the picture that will later become news. So the news is a product, then.
This is not just about telling the news, but having the right people at the right place and creating a video or photo coverage of events.
A certain network will broadcast the content, but other networks will have to pay to acquire it and broadcast it as well since the news operates for commercial purposes.
But, in case there is research that brings a different conclusion from what the newscasters explain, I think that all “news” copyrighted content drops. A researcher will not just take a copyrighted image to sell the same news again, but use it as a part of their investigation. And sometimes these images or parts of video footage are required.
In order to report current events, the reporter may use copyright materials to provide information to the public in relation to the respective events.
This is allowed under the following conditions:
1) The material used is not a photograph
2) The purpose is really for reporting current events
3) The use of the material is fair
4) The use of the material is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement
Are the current copyright laws hindering reporting, investigation, and content creation? When the outcome of a report sheds light on an important event or the content simply sets things straight, shouldn't it be allowed to use simple screenshots from videos?
The copyright law clearly states no. Photographs can't be used, we know this since all are copyrighted unless the owner makes them public domain. Still, this creates additional confusion in my opinion.
What about the photographs and recordings from major events. A content creator is being restricted and unable to use 99% of actual content.
Moreover, when there is content that is not commercial for entertainment purposes (unlike a movie or a song), but actual footage of a rescue operation or a story that is misrepresented on YouTube, isn't there a need to set things straight?
When there is clearly no copyright available anywhere, since this is about a video from 32 years ago, recorded by someone's VCH and reproduced massively at YouTube with no copyright infringement issues, (but no copyright anywhere to be found), isn't this already public domain and free to use?
When no action has been taken to protect copyright for a decade or more, and this content is widely reproduced in various media with no permission all this time, I think that the logical decision would be to include any such content in the public domain.
And all this for a few screenshots of one video from YouTube...
How is a screenshot from a video different from quoting another article?
Since a link is given in the description and there is a whole lot more in an article than just this screenshot, isn't it a bit too much to ask as a copyright violation?
It gets frustrating at times.
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