Great video discussion about Fair Use on Seesmic.

Michael C. Donaldson an entertainment lawyer based in LA takes questions from Seesmic members about fair use, copyright, satire and parodies. Have you ever wondered if you play copyrighted music behind you while you chat in a video and then post that video on YouTube if your breaking the law? Or is that considered fair use? What if you take a photo which has a Creative Commons license attached to it that states you can not use the photo for commercial purpose and post it to your blog that has Google AdSense on it? Is that ok? Well all those answers and much more is in this superb Q&A session.

One thing to note… you have to use the Right Arrow in the video player comments section and scroll to the right most video. Watch from left to right this way you see the Q&A in sequence. Mr. Donaldson is the one with the answers. He’s in the screengrab to the right… look for him. Highly recommended viewing!

For even more info check out this PDF Mr. Donaldson co-wrote called “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video”: click here

For those of you getting this post in a RSS reader the video is here:

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

2 thoughts on “Great video discussion about Fair Use on Seesmic.”

  1. Thanks for this! This is very important info for all musicians! While there are a number exceptions to copyright law allowing the fair use of what would otherwise be exclusive rights, there is no concrete answer of what constitutes fair use. Rather, the court has a multi factor balancing test to consider, including whether the work is used for commercial purposes, educational purposes, and news/public matters. For copyright fair use, the court will also look at how much of the work is used. The notion that if you only sample 8secs so it must be fair use is wrong. There is no concrete answer of how much time constitutes fair use. But, if the use is considered “de minimis” then you’re cool. A few seconds might be considered fair use, unless those 2secs are very recognizable, like the theme from Jaws. For trademark fair use, there is descriptive fair use — if using the mark in describing something is the only way to describe it, you’re cool!

  2. I cannot believe how ridiculous Fair Use laws are. I can completely understand if someone is stealing copyrighted work as their own or making a ton of money off of it, but If you use an “8 second” part of a song to describe it or give someone a taste of it on your blog or podcast these labels should be extremely happy about the free publicity.

    Of course the “legalese” of the way that the law is written make it completely open to interpretation:

    “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole”

    This is what causes many of the RIAA takedowns on YouTube and such. I think that they need to make this more clear so bloggers and podcasters can use copyrighted material fairly (the way that it was intended).

    I think that it is terrible that we have to figure out what the law means by trial and error.

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