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…