YouTube has long been criticized for its DMCA flagging system, which blindly accepts DMCA copyright claims without checking if the video falls under fair use. But today, YouTube has said it will now protect and defend fair use of music, movie and TV clips when parodied or critiqued, even if it has to go to court.
In a blog post, Google's Copyright Legal Director Fred von Lohmann said protecting fair use is important because of the social value it brings, saying fair use is a "crucial exception to copyright law which can help discussion and creativity across different mediums to continue flourishing."
Under the new policy, when subject to DMCA takedowns of fair use content in the U.S., YouTube will not remove the video, and instead with approval from content creator will feature it in the YouTube Copyright Center as a strong example of fair use, and "cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits."
Lohmann said that YouTube is doing this because it "recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it."
YouTube will not be able to defend every fair use video in court, but instead will "resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns" as part of normal processes. Lohmann believes the small number of videos they are able to protect will "make a positive impact on the entire YouTube ecosystem, ensuring YouTube remains a place where creativity and expression can be rewarded."