Fair Use Versus the NFL with YouTube Caught in the Middle

Here is something to keep an eye on. Via the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wendy Seltzer, a visiting assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, is demonstrating the concept of fair use to her class by going head-to-head with the National Football League. Specifically, she posted a 30 second video snippet of the NFL’s standard copyright statement to YouTube on February 8th and waited to see what would happen.

As could be expected, Seltzer received a DMCA takedown notice five days later and the content is no longer viewable on YouTube. In response, she sent a counter notification exerting fair use rights to use the excerpt as an example of overreaching copyright warnings. (Getting dizzy from all of the claims and counter claims yet?)

So the ball is back in YouTube’s court as they are stuck in the middle between Prof. Seltzer on the one side and the NFL on the other. Check out the comments to the three above postings for a real interesting take on what has happened so far and keep an eye on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4uC2H10uIo to see what happens early next month.

[Update on 14-Mar-2006: The Chronicle of Higher Education has an update describing how the content was put back but, at this point in time, is now unavailable again. No word yet about why the content was pulled back a second time.]

The text was modified to update a link from http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/archives/2007/03/06/we_have_putback_super_bowl_warnings_back_online.html to http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/dmca-nfl#000441 on January 20th, 2011.

The text was modified to update a link from http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/archives/2007/02/15/dmca_saga_act_ii_counternotification.html to http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/dmca-nfl#000437 on January 20th, 2011.

(This post was updated on 19-Jan-2011.)