[Tom Scott] YouTube's Copyright System Isn't Broken. The World's Is.


Oct 27, 2017
United States


I'm not saying that's how it should be, I'm saying that's how it is.
  • Copyright law hasn't been updated to consider the internet's use of copyright works
  • Parody songs under current copyright law probably aren't fair use unless they directly criticize the original song (why Weird Al licenses his songs)
  • Gifs are widely understood to be fair use, but a company that has a stick up its arse could litigate and would probably win a court case stating its copyright infringement.
  • Video game footage is also understood to be fair use, but again, companies have already displayed their ability to take videos down for copyright infringement.
  • The entire industry of gaming YouTube channels and Twitch streams may possibly be based in copyright infringement, but isn't litigated or enforced because of various reasons.
  • Content ID operates within the confines of an agreed upon contract with copyright holders and copyright law, and punishing abusers of Content ID can open a can of litigation for either the content creators or YouTube itself.
There is an enormous distance between what the law says, and what the world is doing. That is where most of the tension comes from.
Three things that should be done about the current copyright system

1. Update copyright law
2. Good small claims court
3. Shortening how long copyright lasts