INFRINGEMENT OF CREATIVE RIGHTS VS. COPYRIGHT VIOLATIONS: WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE?

Individual Robert Tur has filed a suit against YouTube for posting his video of Reginald Denny being beaten during the 1992 Los Angeles riots without his permission. Song writer Richard Silver has filed suit against YouTube for posting a video containing his dance steps to the “Electric Slide” without his permission. Recently, Viacom (which includes Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, and MTV) has filed a suit against YouTube for use of unauthorized clips of their entertainment programming. The number of suits arising due to violation of copyright issues should not only be a huge concern to those artists claiming this unauthorized use, but also those individuals posting videos on YouTube, or internet sites of the same nature, who innocently assume they are merely expressing their freedom of speech and end up slapped with a lawsuit alleging they have committed a crime they never knew existed. More importantly, on June 28th, 2007, YouTube released their international version, “youtube.es,” to nine countries: Brazil, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK. This can only mean more lawsuits but now at an international level.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What following conditions must be meant in order to fall under the Section 512(c) category of the DMCA?
How is the DMCA being misused by copyright owners to sue websites like YouTube?
What about the “fair use” doctrine under Copyright Act 17 U.S.C. Section 107 and can it be used to combat unjust copyright infringement allegations?
What will happen to websites like YouTube in the future?

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