Harvard Law professor William Fisher put up his lecture to illustrate exactly how the law on fair use works and he included snippets of well-known covers.
However Sony did not like that and when its automated bots detect and reported that their rights were being infringed Fisher’s lecture was taken down.
Google recognises the problems and recently offered to pay the legal bills of several people who argued that their removed videos are protected by ‘fair use’ legislation. But its Content-ID system still flags a lot of legal content.
Fisher’s videos had the title: “The Subject Matter of Copyright: Music.” None of the tracks, which include covers by Joe Cocker, Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan, are played in full. Instead, Fisher highlights small segments ranging from 15 to roughly 40 seconds.
Fisher could take Sony to the cleaners, after all he has the huge weight of the Harvard Law department to help out. Sony must have realised this because his videos have been re-instated.
However the question remains how much content is being taken down without “fair use” being properly defended.