Accidental media reproduction (e.g. music)This is as good a place as any to start: music and other broadcast media are so ever-present in our lives to the point that we don’t necessarily realize it’s there. We hear music almost everywhere we go thanks to radios playing in cars, malls, and special events, and so it’s not uncommon for someone to shoot a video on the go and accidentally capture music in the background. Once they upload that video, however, they’re reproducing & redistributing that music, likely in violation of copyright laws. Fortunately, this battle has already been fought. In 2007, Viacom sued YouTube on the order of USD$1 billion for hosting uploaded videos that contained their company’s intellectual property. It was all very sordid and convoluted, what with YouTube arguing that a lot of the content was in fact uploaded by marketing companies hired by Viacom in the first place, but eventually the two entities worked things out and YouTube created something called ContentID. ContentID is basically a tool that would automatically compare anything uploaded to YouTube to a database of materials known to be under copyright, and then any ad revenue that was made from the video would be sent to the licensor if that’s what they opted for. For libraries, this might mean that of they upload content but turn off ads, then the ads will be switched on and revenue will be sent to the creator so as to keep with the terms that the original licensor have decided on.
Intentional media reproductionSometimes creators will upload something that’s under copyright, with the intent of critiquing, reviewing, or remixing it. This has led to entire genres springing up (see “reaction” videos), and is by and large protected under fair use/fair dealings (depending on your jurisdiction). From the US Copyright office:
Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.The four considerations for whether or not something is “fair use” are:
- The purpose of the use (is it being used to educate, or for commercial reasons?)
- The nature of the work being used (is the copyrighted work a creative endeavor or more fact-based?)
- The amount of the original work being used (is it a small part, or a major part?)
- The financial impact on the original work caused by the new use (does it substantial hurt the original work’s earning potential?)
Dealing with others violating your copyrightGood news is that this is pretty easy to do — folks like Sony and RIAA making sure that they have a method of redress means that most creators also have access to this, too. If you find yourself in a situation where material that you or your institution have copyright over, you can report the violation from the page itself (assuming the infringement happens on YouTube): If it’s found that this was indeed a copyright violation, the user will be issued a strike, and as accounts receive more strikes, they receive ever-more-serious restrictions up until 3 strikes, at which point their account is terminated. If you find your content on another platform (e.g. Facebook), the process is different. Facebook lets people report content for things like hate speech, self-harm, child abuse, etc… from the post itself, but not copyright infringement. If you need to report that, you have to use this form. Twitter meanwhile offers this form, along with a friendly reminder that when you issue a takedown notice you’re effectively publishing your contact information.
Aside: materials being pulled from one platform to another without attribution has come to be known as freebooting, a phenomenon that’s been in the collective consciousness for almost 4 years now. Destin Sandlin from the channel SmarterEveryDay talked about it at length back then, which makes sense because he does really cool stuff that people tend to want to take.In short, this is problematic for a few reasons:
- Freebooted materials typically aren’t attributed, which is obviously unfair
- Freebooted materials mean that the original creator loses the opportunity to get views, and therefore make money from things like ad revenue and sponsorships
- Conversely, freebooters do get access to these opportunities — an in fact they will freeboot things even though they can’t collect revenue from it, as a way to build audiences and gain influence (see: all the rando radio station Facebook Pages).
- It is a blatant violation of copyright, and the way it typically plays out isn’t protected under Fair Use