At its heart, social media’s purpose is sharing content; however, fair use can only take one so far. A recent case serves as yet another reminder to exercise caution when reposting content, and that, in a litigious society, it is advisable to take the conservative approach and secure permission before reposting another’s content, even when there has been some modification of that content.
Last month, Google announced a groundbreaking policy that may help shift the balance of power between copyright claimants and those who upload YouTube videos that may be covered by fair use. According to Google’s Public Policy Blog, users upload more than 400 hours of video every minute. Those uploads sometimes make use of existing video or music clips in new and transformative ways. When uploads transform the original work in this way (such as a parody or critique), it adds social value beyond the value contained in the original work. In the United States, a transformative use is considered a fair use and exempted from copyright infringement liability.