For those of us who enjoy reviewing TV Shows and movies on YouTube, it can be EXTREMELY frustrating to record, edit, and upload your video, only to have it slapped with the dreaded Copyright Claim! This can ultimately mean one of two things: your video can no longer be monetized by you -OR- your video cannot be published, either in certain areas of the world or the whole world, overall. So what causes this, and maybe more importantly how can you avoid this situation altogether?
First, A Look At Fair Use
If you’re like me, when you first got into YouTube reviews, you assumed that because you were performing a review of the content you were able to use as many clips as you wanted from the content you are reviewing. Turns out, that’s not exactly true.
“But my content falls under (at least) one of the conditions of YouTube’s own Fair Use Policy!”
Let’s take a closer look at those rules to see if we can glean any insights...
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
Courts typically focus on whether the use of copyright-protected material is “transformative.” This means whether the use adds new expression or meaning to the original material, or whether it merely copies from the original. Commercial uses are less likely to be considered fair use, but it’s still possible to monetize a video that contains fair use material.
- The nature of the copyrighted work.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.
Number one on the list above is usually where us YouTubers find ourselves, feeling that by reviewing and critiquing the work should be considered “transformative” and therefore allow us to publish our videos without fearing the Copyright Claim.
Unfortunately, YouTube’s moderators, and more specifically their automated review system, disagree with this belief.
So, now for the REAL reason you’re here
In my extensive research, I’ve failed to find ANYONE who has identified exactly how to avoid this issue, which led me to do a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly what we needed to do to be able to share our reviews and include clips from the shows or movies we were reviewing. What this research ultimately found was that sharing clips that are just under 15 seconds long seems to do the trick. I’m assuming this is the minimum of what YouTube’s automated checks are looking for (or able to detect) and therefore, keeping clips under that minimum avoids the issue altogether. Here's an example from one of our videos of how we have achieved this:
So what if you want to share clips that are longer than 15 seconds? My suggestion is to take the clip you want to share, measure the first 15 seconds (or 14.9 to be safe), trim a small section of the clip following that mark, and then add the next 15 seconds. It’s not a perfect system, clips aren’t always cooperative when it comes to trimming out bits and pieces, but if you do it right, looking for camera angle changes or breaks in speech to do your trimming, it can be done.
If this solution helped you, please be sure to share this article to help get the word out! If you ran into any issues, please let me know by emailing me at email@example.com. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to these things and I don’t want to lead anyone astray with my advice, so help me help you by sharing your experience.
Also, be sure to check out our review videos on YouTube for other examples: