I have to admit that I approached answering this question with much trepidation, largely because I had to fight the urge to flippantly say “sure, why ever not!” I have had many instructors frequently share clips on YouTube and I am quite certain that they have not all been vetted for their musical or even visual content (I also somewhat expect, fairly or unfairly, for YouTube to handle copyright infringement issues) . The reality is, however, that while YouTube has only been around since 2005 with the legal and ethical issues initially having been quite “gray”, they have recently become increasingly organized into more “black” and “white” categories. It is because of this shift towards clearly constructed legal and ethical “dos and don’ts” that I felt the need to squash my initial impulse and examine the ethical and legal matters that would apply to this scenario today.
Despite the ordinariness of the scenarios provided as discussion questions this week, they have been far from simple to answer and have actually been considerably challenging. After perusing various articles, reading multiple blogs and wading “neck-deep” through legalize, I believe my answer, based on fair use practices, would still be “sure”, but admittedly a very cautious one. My reasons for this answer were largely initiated by a summary provided by a Wikispace forum for a book entitled “Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning” (Renee Hobbs) and a report entitled “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy.”
According to the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy…
1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works and use them and keep them for educational use
2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded
3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded
4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material
5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard
While both of the above sources are from south of the border, I found them very useful, especially after establishing that Canada’s fair use terms are quite comparable (as outlined in Section 29, of Bill C-11). The reason, however, that my answer remains cautious is largely based on the uncertainty of what the implementation of Bill C-11 and other follow-up measures will look like (Michael Geist hints at possible complications in this clip here: http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/technology-1/soapbox-michael-geist-on-bill-c-11.html as well as other challenges/issues here:http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/17/bill-c-11-copyright-modernization-act-canada_n_1603837.html )
As the legal aspect of digital copyright issues is still relatively in its infancy, I admit that I do not feel overly confident nor very knowledgeable about what is “right” for certain. It is therefore, that I only very humbly propose the answer to this question to be: “Yes, it is permissible, because of fair use practices”, but not without acknowledging that it is still important to attribute the source of the material (in this case the artist, music label, etc. of the song in question).
While I have come to this conclusion at present, I want to make mention that I more than welcome correction. It is very probable, after all, that I may have gone astray or overlooked other relevant considerations on my journey through the dense jungle of digital copyright matters.
Stastna, Kazi. Copyright changes: how they’ll affect users of digital content. CBCNews. Sep 30, 2011. Accessed October 25, 2012.http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/09/29/f-copyright-explainer.html
Lithwick, Dara and Maxime-Olivier Thibodeau. Legislative Summary of Bill C-11: An Act to amend the Copyright Act. Accessed October 25, 2012.http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?Language=E&ls=c11&Parl=41&Ses=1&source=library_prb#a19
Wikispace. Finally – Copyright Clarity has Arrived. Accessed October 25, 2012. http://copyrightconfusion.wikispaces.com/
Center for Social Media – American University. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Accessed October 25, 2012. http://mediaeducationlab.com/sites/mediaeducationlab.com/files/CodeofBestPracticesinFairUse.pdf
And I agree, that all the information and technnical language of copyright law is something difficult to syphon through, making it all the more difficult to come to a clear answer, but at least we are more aware of the steps to take in getting the correct answer.
I would have to completely agree that it is a challenge to determine what material is available for public viewing, when it is housed and accessible on a public site. It makes it even more difficult when authorized and unauthorized material are intermixed. Some YouTubers, after all, would really appreciate the chance to broaden their subscriber base by being shown to the largest audience possible. Others, however, view YouTube in a more traditional sense and would expect certain copyright procedures to be followed.
A fairly successful compromise between the two extremes would likely be that provided by VEVO. VEVO, released in 2009, is currently co-owned by the Universal Music Group, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, all working in cooperation with Google (YouTube) to offer tens of thousands of music videos. Sites like VEVO are great, in the sense that one is still ‘giving credit where credit is due’, without having to relinquish the ease of use and convenience that the YouTube platform offers. While the advertisements can get a little tedious and repetitive, I would be more than willing to overlook this drawback, if more content were formatted to fit a similar model to the above example. I personally appreciate companies that, instead of resisting the obvious shift in trends and the times, choose to embrace them. I have a feeling that other students and educators would as well, as they constantly face this challenge within the academic realm.
Stelter, B. (2009, December 8). Music Industry Companies Opening Video Site. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/business/media/08vevo.html