Returned to work from a month’s paternity leave to find that one of the videos from a few years back has been taken down (for the second time) by YouTube. The video, Pipeline, contains a Dizzy Gillespie track that Universal Music Group holds the copyright on. Apparently YouTube checks the waveform of uploaded videos against a database, and takes stuff down on behalf of the copyright holders. I disputed the original takedown on the grounds that the use of copyright material in the video is allowed as fair use, and YouTube made it “live” again, pending contact with UMG.
Now it’s been taken down again. I guess YouTube have determined, or UMG are asserting, that what this group of teenagers did is not fair use. It doesn’t even show up on youtomb, the awesome new takedown Valhalla from MIT Free Culture.
The Center for Social Media at American University in DC recently published widely accepted basic guidelines for both documentary filmmakers and media literacy educators for the use of copyright materials under fair use provisions that already exist in the law. Using these guidelines, I’m confident that Pipeline‘s use of the Dizzy Gillespie track is fine for a couple of reasons.
One of the four main classes of material that is generally covered by fair use is the use of copyrighted material in a historical sequence, which I think is an excellent description of this case.
Also keep in mind that this video was produced by a group of 15-18 year olds in an educational setting, so the provisions for distribution of works that are media literacy exercises should also apply.
Copyright material is in the first minute
(NB: much black at beginning. video begins at 25 seconds.)
If I get no joy after a letter to YouTube, we’re going to be looking for legal advice. I’m all sorts of riled up about this one! It’s just plain old mean!