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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15708
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I recently made a documentary using edited parts of

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Hi there,I recently made a documentary using edited parts of copyrighted material to form an already known history. I made a conscious effort to stay within fair use laws. The documentary is 1hr45mins and the edited material targeted by YouTube amounts to around 7mins (7 mins made up of various edited material). Before it’s release, I was interviewed and publicly stated the intent behind the project and in no way would profit from this new piece of art. No copyrighted works were used wholesale. I’m wondering where I stand with this before taking action. Thank you.
JA: What written documentation do you have?
Customer: In regards ***** *****?
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: Ah sorry, no nothing in writing. It was just a take down notice from YouTube on at the behest of a management company. I’m really just wondering if I should counter the take down.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No this is fine thank you

Thanks for your question. I am an IP solicitor in the UK and can help you with your question today. Can you explain your situation a little more please? For example, what is the nature of the material under challenge? Where does it fit into the documentary? Why did you not seek permission from the copyright owner(s)?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you for your reply and i hope this adds a bit of context and timeline. The nature of the material used is musical (live music) and live footage.On Saturday 27th June 2020, our sub division of TNK STUDIO, AYEWIS, uploaded a working pilot of a documentary - intent for future production - about IZZY STRADLIN.Much care went into this project especially surrounding contentious issues such as 'fair use' to ensure copyrighted material was respected and used in a transformative way to give context to an already known history. Essentially using publicly available clips to help tell the story of IZZY STRADLINs careers as a musician.Further, it was publicly stated on the 'APPETITE FOR DISTORTION SHOW WITH BRANDO' Episode 203 what the intent behind this project was:A creative way of contacting IZZY STRADLIN for possible future involvement
That there would be no monetary gains from said documentary being displayed in a public forum
An acknowledgement of potential issues surrounding the use of copyrighted material under 'fair use'.
Efforts were made to reach out to various organisations for help with the documentary but to no avail.Further to this, as the documentary was made public, a further reiteration of intent was publicly displayed in the 'description box' provided by YouTube. It read the following:“***FAIR USE NOTICE AND INTENT*** This documentary is for educational purposes and should be viewed as a pilot for future production. Everything relayed in this documentary is public knowledge and fair use guidelines have been used in good faith by Ayewis Life for TNK Studio. TNK Studio has tried to honour, where possible, the original creators of audio and visual footage. This documentary was made with zero budget and neither Ayewis nor TNK Studio intend to profit from this pilot.”On Tuesday 23rd June 2020, TNK STUDIO sought legal advice (not official, but through a friend) surrounding the use of copyrighted material and upon advice being given, made a five page document on Wednesday 24th June 2020 stating why such copyrighted material was being used. This included the minutes at which said copyrighted material was used and for how long.TNK STUDIO through the AYEWIS LIFE twitter page made it publicly known the runtime of the documentary before final editing commenced. This stood at – 1 HOUR, 49 MINUTES AND 51 SECONDS accompanied with the following public statement:“The doc has finally been structured with the current runtime seen in the attached image. Final editing begins tomorrow through Thursday with credits compiled on Friday...”This was to put on record that TNK STUDIO made a conscious effort to comply with 'fair use' and to also give credit to the original creators of copyrighted material as best as possible.
The final runtime came in at 1 HOUR, 45 MINUTES AND 51 SECONDS including time for it took to display the end credits – 4 MINUTES AND 44 SECONDS.
In total, 8 MINUTES AND 44 SECONDS were cut from the original runtime – publicly shown on the AYEWIS twitter – to comply with 'fair use'.On Monday 29th June 2020, a working pilot of DUST N' BONES: THE STORY SO FAR was automatically taken down by YouTube at the behest of RIAA for 'copyright infringement' pertaining to the use of GUNS N' ROSES material.TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS LIMITED wishes to place on record it's acknowledgement that RIAA's commitment to protect the value and work of it's artists in good faith.
We would also like it to be acknowledge that our studio acted in good faith toward the artists that RIAA represent and it is feared that this 'take down notice' was served under nefarious reasons that has both affected and interfered with this Limited Company's ability to operate and continuation of this project with the already limited tools at our disposal being a new start working on zero budget.

Thanks for your reply. I’m afraid fair use for educational purposes is quite restricted in its scope. You can read online sections 32 onwards of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 but in general terms you can’t put copyright material into the public domain and call it educational. Educational fair use is restricted to the boundaries, either online or physical, of the educational institution. For example if your video was published as part of course materials and available only to staff or students at a university or college that would be fine. What you did is not and in any event the representative institution here is in the US and their restrictions would apply. You should have sought a licence to use the music and images and there is the ability to do that via the RIAA website.

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Customer: replied 4 days ago.
My friend, thank you for clearing this up for me as it has been a headache to try and respect these artists work without upsetting anyone. Being new to this, i thought i was doing the right thing but i'm learning through this process so it helps further. Thanks again and stay safe.