YouTube is standing by its video creators in a major way when it comes to copyright infringement cases. The company announced on Thursday that it will help some YouTubers pay for legal fees associated with these cases, but only those whom it believes are being unfairly targeted.

The video platform has cracked down on users, updating its policies to reduce the amount of pirated material on the site. However, the company believes that some takedown demands have been taken too far.

As a result, YouTube will financially support its creators in the cases where the user appears to have every right to use certain content based on "fair use" provisions.

As part of the fair use copyright law in the U.S., YouTubers are able to use certain material (such as a clip from a video that they use in their own videos to comment on), without needing permission from the holder of the rights. Some examples would be commentary, criticism, parody and news reporting. That means a video creator could feature a snippet from a news broadcast to further illustrate and speak their own thoughts on the matter.

YouTube will start by supporting four video creators its believes are being unfairly targeted, such as the creator of the YouTube channel U.F.O. Theater, Constantine "Dean" Guiliotis. Guiliotis has received three takedown notices from copyright holders regarding video clips he found online that are featured in his videos. His videos include commentary and analysis of these videos, so YouTube will stand by him if legal action continues, based on the fact that he is within the guidelines of the law. The YouTuber has a little more than 1,000 subscribers.

The company is also standing by one of the video creators who received a takedown notice from the Ohio Channel, a service of Ohio's public broadcasting stations that combines coverage of the Legislature with locally produced programs, for a video that contained meeting footage from a local chapter of the abortion rights group Naral Pro-Choice.

"We want, when we can, to have our users' backs," YouTube's legal director for copyright Fred von Lohmann told the New York Times. "We believe even the small number of videos we are able to protect will make a positive impact on the entire YouTube ecosystem."

YouTube's decision to pay legal fees is part of its mission to protect free speech and educate users on fair use. Of course, being loyal to its content creators doesn't hurt as other companies like Facebook enter the video scene.

Source: New York Times

Photo: Michael Coghlan | Flickr

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