YouTube does copyright… badly

Click the image to see the video

I saw via a tweet from @dannynic that YouTube has produced a copyright video and, clicking the link, saw they had a whole ‘copyright school’.

“Brill!”, thinks I, “That could well be a fantastic resource for the classroom.”

I’m really quite interested and passionate about copyright and I go to great lengths to make sure that my students understand why copyright is important as well as what might happen if they infringe copyright. I also go to great lengths to look at things like fair dealing (the UK equivalent of fair use), creative commons and gpl.

Imagine my horror, then, when I watched the video to see yet another lecture about how people breaking copyright law could be fined or have their YouTube account blocked. No mention of why copyright exists, no serious mention of alternative licensing system / content sources, a ridiculously legalese explanation of fair use (see the screenshot above). The first example they gave of copyright infringement is someone recording a film at the cinema on their mobile phone. Now I know there are lots of films and TV shows that are heavily pirated, but how many are really done with a mobile phone?

So we end up with something that is unrealistic, punitive, wordy and essentially completely unsuitable for use (except for the unit that I try to run every now and again where we look at bad copyright enforcement videos and try to make better ones).

And it’s not at all ironic that YouTube, a site that has made itself so popular thanks in no small part to pretty blatant copyright infringement, is taking this line…


2 thoughts on “YouTube does copyright… badly

  1. xcellent post Mark. I agree completely and think you make two very substantial statements”

    1. The lengths you go to to provide a balanced and fair education on copyright for your students
    2. Your unit on ‘bad copyright’ get tos the heart of what digital literacy should be about.

    I think the YouTube video is badly conceived and executed, which is a shame as YouTube has provided education with superb content and innovative tools through a continually improving service. It is just a list of threats, delivered in a hectoring tone and threatening tone. As @josiefraser states in her tweet the “video ignores issues like censorship and free speech” it does nothing to engage or support students and unlike it is certainly not suitable for use in schools.

    It appears as if this video might be response to appease some content rights holders, but ‘ass covering’ is not a viable educational strategy. And has for that ‘pirate’ hat… original; or what?
    My report on Copyright School reads: ” can and must do better!”

  2. Lewis says:

    Though the video didn’t go into details about a lot of things, and it’s not common for people to record a film with a mobile phone, I can see why they made the video the way they have. There’s a narrative, and as a result, makes it slightly entertaining for people who couldn’t care less about copyright.
    I have a problem with how some of their copyright systems work. I got falsely claimed for copyright infringing by their copyright infringing machine things they have. I countered the claim, but IGN still get money for the adverts next to the video. Makes me feel guilty and I haven’t done anything wrong.
    I’m sure as a result of the video someone will have decided not to upload something they shouldn’t, and therefore YouTube have done what they intend the video to do.

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