This morning, YouTube announced that it's pushing back against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by protecting fair use videos that are receiving takedown requests. For select users that find themselves in a copyright infringement lawsuit as a result of an abusive takedown, the video platform will cover legal fees of up to $1 million while keeping these "clear fair uses" live on YouTube.

Below is the official announcement from Fred von Lohmann, YouTube’s Copyright Legal Director.

"We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it (for more background on the DMCA and copyright law see check out this Copyright Basics video). In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a “demo reel” that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.

While we can’t offer legal protection to every video creator—or even every video that has a strong fair use defense—we’ll continue to resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns as part of our normal processes. We believe even the small number of videos we 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."

As TechCrunch notes, there's more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute and it's safe to say a lot may fall under fair use. Since YouTube can't afford to protect every one, it will be choosing those videos it thinks will have the best chance of succeeding in court.

Constantine Guiliotis, one of the users YouTube will be protecting, told New York Times, "It was very gratifying to know a company cares about fair use and to single out someone like me." Below is his UFO Theater reel which contains clips of copyrighted videos with commentary and analysis overlaid, which classifies it under fair use.

Sources: TechCrunch, New York Times

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Jamie Lamberski Senior Editor

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