Copyright LogoThe YouTube Copyright School is now open and accepting pupils who need re-educating about what can and can’t legitimately be posted to the site. Only dunces can possibly fail to pass this particular test, but I bet many still will.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement is rife on the Internet, and online video contributes a fair share of the problem. It’s partly the fault of copyright owners, of course, who generally haven’t grasped the opportunity the Web offers, leaving a vacuum filled by non-legal methods of distribution. But still.

YouTube used to be a lawless place with copyright infringement happening all over the place, which is why Viacom is suing the company. But since Google acquired the site the problem has been minimized, with systems in place to identify and delete clips which infringe copyrights quickly and efficiently.

However, some people still try to get away with it.

New YouTube Strategy

YouTube has made a couple of changes to its strategy for dealing with copyright infringers.

The three strikes and you’re out rule can now be bent in exceptional circumstances. In essence, if you’ve shown that you’re not intentionally posting copyrighted material on a regular basis YouTube may grant you a reprieve. On completion of the YouTube Copyright School, of course.

The YouTube Copyright School is nothing more than a video featuring some of the characters from Happy Tree Friends. The animation tries to explain copyright law and fair use in as simple a fashion as possible. It also explains how YouTube deals with copyright infringement allegations.

There are then four (only four?) questions to answer, and they’re all spectacularly easy. I personally answered them all correctly before I’d even watched the video. And I’m neither particularly bright or have special knowledge of copyright law.

Conclusions

Copyright law is complicated, which is why there are lawyers who spent years learning it and earn a fortune specializing in it. But the bottom line is that if you didn’t create it then it’s not yours to post online. And I think most people know that. Oh, and stating that a clip isn’t yours and actually belongs to someone else doesn’t excuse the infringement, it merely flags it up and suggests you’re well aware you’re doing wrong.

Let’s hope YouTube’s new strategy works. After all, Russell the Pirate is rather cute.

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