The Correct Way to Use Popular Video Content

Content producers and distributors acquire a copyright to protect an original expression of an idea – such as a video, song, film, book or any similar creative work.

But if you take a look at YouTube, Instagram and Twitter today, you’ll notice videos borrowing a lot of content in the form of memes, gifs and mashups that utilize chunks of original content – not originally created by the uploader. Most of these creations are utilizing the copyrighted content within the limits of fair use policies. 

What is Fair Use? 

To keep it simple: fair use gives you the right to use copyrighted content in your own personal content. 

Usually, if you are critiquing, analyzing, or creating a parody of an existing work – you can use the original content. 

If, however, you take a piece of copyrighted work and try to pass it off as your own and try to earn revenue through it, you have surpassed fair use rights. 

Why Use Fair Use?

Fair Use is a great way to build a new audience for your particular channel on social media sites. It is also an easier way to attract a large audience. By citing popular video content, you can be more relatable with your new audience. This especially comes in handy when you are just starting out. 

Many times, fair use gives a reference point to deliver your point more clearly. One of the most famous magazine covers in the late 90s was that of actress Demi Moore on Vanity Fair. The same pose was recreated with Leslie Nielsen as a way to promote one installment of the Naked Gun films – a popular comedy film series at the time. 

There are several creative ways to repurpose existing content to elevate your new video. Just make sure you do so without stepping on sensitive copyright lawyers’ toes!