What’s fair use? It’s an exception to the copyright law that enables people to use portions of copyrighted material for the purpose of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research,” as stated in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). If you’ve ever seen the sad red face on a video you wanted to watch, the DMCA may be involved. Even though YouTube itself falls under the “safe harbor” provision, content creators generally don’t. And some copyright holders can get very pushy against individuals.
A notice published on the Google Public Policy Blog says, “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. 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.”