Fair use myths
I only used a small amount of copyrighted content
- Any amount of unlicensed copyrighted content used—even if it’s just for a few seconds, may result in your video getting claimed by Content ID or taken down by the copyright owner. You can argue fair use, but you should understand that the only place where a fair use determination can be made is a courtroom.
I gave credit to the owner
- Giving credit to the copyright owner doesn’t automatically give you the rights to use their copyrighted work. Be sure to secure the rights to all unlicensed elements in your video before you upload it to YouTube. If you’re relying on fair use, even if you add original material to someone’s copyrighted work, your video may not qualify, so be sure to carefully consider all four factors and get legal advice if needed.
I’m not making money
- Not trying to make money off copyright-protected work doesn’t stop copyright claims. Declaring your upload to be “for entertainment purposes only” or “non-profit,” for example, is not enough by itself. When it comes to fair use, Courts will look carefully at the purpose of your use in evaluating whether it is fair. “Non-profit” uses are favored in the fair use analysis, but it’s not an automatic defense by itself
If I add any original material I created to someone else’s copyrighted work, then my use is fair use
- Just because you add original material does not mean you automatically own the rights to the content. Remember courts usually focus on if the use of the work is transformative. Be sure to review the four factors of fair use and consult a lawyer if necessary.
Did you know?
- The U.S. Copyright Office maintains a Fair Use Index that tracks judicial decisions on fair use.
- The Center for Media and Social Impact has assembled a “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video” that discusses common use cases.
- Not all countries recognize fair use, but they may have enacted other exceptions to copyright such as fair dealing.
Find answers to more fair use FAQs here.