Copyright Law is probably the most misunderstood of all law pertaining to copyrights. I wrote that myself.
So it helps to get some guidance from Mark Levy, who specializes in intellectual property law, and wrote a piece on “What’s Legal: Producer’s Rights” in a recent issue of VideoMaker.
The least you need to know:
- Copyright law protects you as a video creator, and gives you the right to authorize (or not) your stuff for reproduction, derivative works and distribution for sale or rental.
- Fair use allows users to copy portions off a work for purposes of illustration or commentary. Journalist can quote speeches, but courts consider four factors to determine the fine line between fair use and copyright infringement:
- The nature of the work: If it’s factural not creative, it’s more likely to pass.
- Purpose: commercial or non-profit has obvious implications.
- Amount and substantiality of excerpted work. The more you use, the greater the risk. TheStranger can probably use my image in this “Undies” award promotion. But the jackass that keeps ripping popular YouTube videos, posting it on their own channel, and linking to their stupid website? YouTube seems to be policing that well.
- Potential effect on the value or potential market of the original work.
- Don’t forget there’s a lot in public domain. For more details, Levy directs us to the Cornell page about public domain.
Be careful out there, kiddo.