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 YouTube Copyright School

YouTube Copyright School

May 3, 2011

Google and YouTube have decided to launch a YouTube Copyright School as a way to strengthen their copyright position. The copyright schools has been set up in order to teach users who infringe copyright laws the basics of copyright law.

‘Because copyright law can be complicated, education is critical to ensure that our users understand the rules and continue to play by them. That’s why today we’re releasing a new tutorial on copyright and a redesigned copyright help center. We’re also making two changes to our copyright process to be sure that our users understand the rules, and that users who abide by those rules can remain active on the site,’ YouTube says.

Users who receive a notification telling them they have been infringing copyright laws, will be required to watch a cartoon that goes over the basics of copyright infringement and helps to show them how they have infringed copyright law and how this affects an industry.

The users will then have to pass an online test to demonstrate they have actually watched the video all the way through in order to be able to return to using the site. Previously YouTube operated a three-strike policy where YouTube users’ accounts would be suspended if they got three copyright notices. Now with the new ‘School’ policy in place, those who complete the YouTube Copyright School will be able to get their strikes removed.

This move was not something Google has been required to do.  Last year Google fought a lawsuit with Viacom over copyright infringement. In the case YouTube insisted they should not be held liable for copyright infringement on the site, and that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act should protect it. The ruling found YouTube was adhering to takedown notices when informed of infringements by copyright holders. Despite winning the case last year, Google has still decided to take steps to help prevent copyright violations. YouTube has taken on board criticisms by the entertainment industry that it was not doing enough to combat copyright violations and has decided to do its bit.

In its blog post YouTube states ‘It’s ultimately your responsibility to know whether you possess the rights for a particular piece of content before uploading it to YouTube. If you’re at all uncertain of your rights or whether a particular use of content is legal under your local laws, you should contact a qualified copyright attorney,’

Whether or not this new copyright policy will work better than their old policy remains to be seen but it marks a move towards education instead of simply punishing people for infringing copyright.