Google announces funding for DMCA removals

Posted by Melanie Davidson on 25 November 2015

Google, owner of YouTube, has announced that it will help fund the legal fees for content creators who have received takedown notices, where their material is considered to be fair use. 

Under the terms of United States copyright law the doctrine of fair use allows individuals to use copyrighted content without the permission of the copyright holder in limited circumstances. Material can be reproduced for purposes including news reporting, commentary, criticism, parody or teaching. 

In the Californian case of Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. 572 F. Supp. 2d 1150, Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that Universal Music Group ('UMG') failed to consider this fair use exception when it claimed that a video of a baby dancing to a song by Prince was in breach of copyright. The decision was affirmed by the 9th Circuit in September of this year and re-emphasises the importance of a copyright holder bearing in mind fair use criteria when filing a takedown notice.

Google believes that the removal of such content, with a social value greater than that provided by the original, risks stifling the creativity and expression that is central to the YouTube brand and community.

The videos which are among those being defended in the most recent surge of cases include two video game reviews and a piece containing news footage of Rachel Dolezal (which went viral in mid-June). 

We have yet to find out more information about the cases and whether they have yet been heard in court, but we will keep abreast of any news and update the blog as it is reported.

Melanie Davidson

Written by Melanie Davidson

Mel works as the Marketing Executive for Justis, writing legal content for our blog as well as organising our advertising and other marketing activities. She completed her Masters degree in Public International Law, writing her dissertation on the persecution of minorities. Her predominant legal interest lies in the areas of state crime and international human rights.

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