Fair Use: What’s the Use?

Fair Use: What’s the Use?

By Brian Herman and Andrew Mccolum


The Fair Use policy of Youtube.com has been a controversial subject for several years, but it has become even more prevalent recently. The policy started as a way to counter rampant piracy, as the site started much smaller. People were posting movies, songs, and game footage without following Fair Use, and gaining revenue from somebody else’s work. This policy made piracy more difficult, and made Youtube into what it is today.


However, since then the system to protect copyright makes content creation and enjoyment of a video more difficult. While this issue is a global problem with several factors at play, the ramifications can be felt even within the Oakdale community.

Senior Graham Shapiro is a frequent Youtube viewer who also posts his own content, and he spoke about his potential solution to the issue: “Youtube should more thoroughly examine a video before blocking it”

Several Youtube content creators have spoken out about the Fair Use issues, and movements have spread throughout the internet. Shapiro revealed that he “heard about the #Where’s the Fair Use movement about a year ago from a Youtube personality, The Nostalgia Critic.”

Even beyond the current Fair Use policy harming creators, the impact can be felt even among ordinary viewers who just enjoy the Youtube platform. Freshman Parker Seaman is an avid youtube watcher who has felt the ripple effect. Seaman commented, “It limits what you can watch, what people can make, and someone’s ability to create.”

A major side effect of rampant copyright takedowns and abuse is ads. These ads become more frequent with more abuse, as the owners of certain copyrights can force ads onto a video to make more money for themselves, not the creators. Seaman also argued, “I don’t see ads often, but they are at the worst times. I’ve even stopped watching a video because of a certain long ad.”

So the Fair Use issue has several ramifications, and the two sides involved are fighting for their solutions. Seaman spoke, “If the content holders won, Youtube would be whittled down to only those who can fight against the corporations, AKA those with the most money. But if the creators won, piracy and theft would run wild.”

Overall, it seems the majority opinion is that Youtube needs to strike a balance between striking down piracy and theft, but the system needs enough nuance to let creators make the best content they can.