Should a YouTube creator be shocked and appalled when they are sued for copyright infringement? That all depends. When creators post YouTube content that ends up being successful, copyright infringement suits are somewhat predictable. Copyright lawsuits frequently target YouTubers, motion picture studios, television networks – any company or person that professionally creates content. This is just the way of the world these days. Those who are caught off guard or surprised by infringement claims, however, were probably not prepared or adequately advised that such a possibility existed.
What Can A Creative Individual Do?
Makers of original content are always going to be lawsuit targets. And as expensive as they can end up being, lawsuits are easy to initiate. So what can a creative individual do to protect themselves? Ideally, you must take some initial steps to prevent the potential of a lawsuit. As with other businesses in the media field, consider taking the following precautions and making them part of your business practice. It will, at least, be a good start.
Who’s in the Shot?
Take particular notice of anyone that appears on camera. Also take into consideration any content including videos, pictures, or music that would be considered third-party. You need to clear the rights to these individuals and things. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. You can secure whatever rights are necessary through a written agreement that will give you permission to use that clip, music, or person in your video. Have anyone other than you that appears in the video sign a release. There are appropriate documents that will help you allocate the permission to use third-party music, pictures, and video clips as well.
What If You Can’t Get Permission?
Sometimes it’s just not possible to obtain the clearance information that you’re looking for. There is such a thing as “fair use” which could leave you in the clear if your use of the item in question passes the established judicial test for such. Familiarize yourself with fair use and consult an expert if need be. The courts don’t always agree on the exact definition of this term, and the entire theory of it seems to constantly be changing. If you’re a serious content creator, legal representation would certainly not be out of the question if you feel that you cannot get the rights to something that you need and you have made every reasonable effort to do so. To find out whether or not it falls under fair use or if, because of your efforts to obtain rights, you’re in the clear, consulting an attorney is the best way to cover your assets.
Should You Be Insured?
If the content that you create reviews services or products, or includes third-party brands, third-party videos or pictures, or third-party music, you may want to consider getting a media liability insurance policy. This is an insurance coverage for errors and omissions and can cover you against trademark and copyright claims of infringement, defamation claims, and privacy claims, etc. This policy would provide coverage for the cost of your defense in such a claim and the damage awards that may be the result of claims such as this.
Serious, successful creators should consider having a close business relationship with a lawyer. If you have acquaintances that can assist you in minor matters and advice giving, all the better. Having someone like that on your production team would be an absolute plus. If, however, you find yourself in need of effectual legal representation, it is best to have an experienced lawyer under contract and at the ready.