Welcome to Fair Use Tube.org! This is a site for user-generated video creators to learn how to protect their "fair use" rights under U.S. copyright law on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. This site is a compilation of resources and tools relating to copyright law and user-generated video, and is designed to provide amateur video creators with the resources they need to stand up for free speech and successfully challenge abusive takedown notices and Content ID matches, which frequently target non-infringing content.

If you are a creator whose video has been blocked, please check out my Guide to YouTube Removals as well as the Fair Use Resources section. Additionally, if you are a video creator wanting to use DVD footage from a movie or TV show for a remix video, check out the Guide to Ripping DVDs, which describes how to rip DVD footage to a format which you can import into video editing software.

If you need additional guidance or specific legal advice regarding your situation, you may contact me using the information provided on the About This Site page. Consultation fees may apply.


Patrick_Capitol_Portrait_2This site is maintained by Patrick McKay, a Colorado-licensed attorney and 2012 graduate of Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After successfully fighting takedown notices against his own videos on several occasions, he started this site to spread awareness that it is possible to defend your videos from copyright notices on YouTube. Patrick developed a strong interest in copyright issues in college. Patrick is currently working at a law firm in Denver practicing mostly personal injury and criminal defense law. He is still pursuing his copyright activism on the side, fighting to restore a balance to American copyright law which better protects the rights of consumers and amateur creators, and not just the interests of big entertainment corporations.

Latest News

  • October 4, 2012: Victory! A little over one year after I began campaigning to raise awareness of the fatal flaws in YouTube's Content ID dispute process, YouTube has announced some much needed reforms, including a new appeals process which will put an end to copyright claimants acting as the ultimate judge of their own false claims. Both Ars Technica and Extreme Tech have published articles in which I am quoted. To real my full response to the changes, click here.
  • November 21, 2011: Wired.com published an article on abuses of the YouTube Content ID system which mentioned FairUseTube.org and quoted me in a statement. The article does a great job of highlighting the problem of companies using fraudulent Content ID claims to hijack ad revenue from videos they do not own the copyright to.
  • September 6, 2011: The tech and copyright blog TorrentFreak published an article calling attention to the systemic failures of YouTube's copyright system, which included a statement from me and cited my article on the subject. Read the TorrentFreak article here, and my article about the flaws in the Content ID system here.
  • July 13, 2011: Tech policy group Public Knowledge announced my video, "Fair Use School: The Rest of the Copyright Story" as the winning entry in its video contest calling for a response to YouTube's "Copyright School" video. Specifically, my video responds to YouTube's downplaying of fair use, showing that rather than being nothing more than inaccessible legal jargon which ordinary YouTube users could never hope to understand, it is a valuable tool which video creators can use to defend their videos against takedown notices. For more info, read Public Knowledge's announcement, and the TechDirt article covering the story.
  • Nov. 24, 2010: I was interviewed about copyright issues and YouTube on Illumination Radio with Mr. Roger, which was broadcast on Motivational Radio (an online radio station) on November 23. You can download an MP3 of the interview here.

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this site is specific to United States federal law and does not apply to other jurisdictions. The material on this site is NOT legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a qualified attorney. This site is meant to offer general legal information only, and its author cannot be held liable for any action you may take in a particular situation. Also be aware that some material on this site is my own personal opinion and I cannot guarantee it would be upheld in a court of law. The issues surrounding copyright infringement are highly complex, and even experienced lawyers often cannot predict the outcome of a copyright dispute with any certainty.  Please be aware that the dispute procedures outlined here can have potentially serious legal consequences, and they are not to be undertaken lightly. If you have any doubt about the legality of your material, please consult a qualified attorney before taking any action.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 17:05


Recent Articles

YouTube Refuses to Honor DMCA Counter-Notices

Last October, YouTube announced some much needed reforms to its Content ID copyright dispute process. Bowing to growing public pressure, YouTube ended the practice of allowing copyright claimants to unilaterally deny disputes, leaving users with no further recourse to have non-infringing videos restored.

YouTube established a new “appeals” process, which once again gave users whose videos are blocked by Content ID recourse to the DMCA counter-notice process if the copyright owner insists on rejecting their dispute. At the end of the process, the user’s video would be restored unless the copyright claimant actually filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to keep it offline. No longer.

YouTube's New Content ID Appeals Process: Not as Useful as You Might Think

Last month YouTube announced a new process for appealing reinstated Content ID claims that was supposed to solve the problem of copyright owners being made the ultimate judge of disputes against their own copyright claims. Sadly, the new appeals process has turned out to be far less useful than one would have hoped, thanks to the seemingly arbitrary way in which the appeal option is available on some videos and not others, and the requirement to "verify" your YouTube account with a text message sent to a cell phone before you can file an appeal.

Victory! YouTube Reforms Content ID Dispute Process

In a blog post yesterday, YouTube announced a new appeals process for Content ID disputes, which should put an end to copyright claimants acting as judges of their own claims and once again give users whose videos are blocked or monetized by false Content ID matches recourse to the counter-notice process under the DMCA. The new appeals process is described in greater detail here. As I said in a quote on Ars Technica, at this point I am cautiously optimistic about this new appeals process. If implemented correctly, it will be a huge step forward toward protecting the rights of online video creators against overzealous copyright claims.