D.C. Consumer Lobby Offers $1,000 for Best Video Explaining Copyright Law

WASHINGTON: Public Knowledge, the Washington, D.C. consumer lobby, is offering $1,000 for the best video explaining copyright law. PK got fired up over YouTube’s own “Copyright School” video, which violators are supposed to watch when they’ve been caught infringing. Aside from apparently targeting four-year-olds, PK had some other problems with YouTube’s Copyright School, which also may be the Google gang’s way of nose-thumbing the content companies that watchdog YouTube for infringement.

“Even though every other part of the video manages to explain the law in simple, clear terms, the clear implication here is that fair use is way too complicated to understand, and users should only rely on it if they’re willing to pony up for a lawyer to defend them,” writes PK’s Jodie Graham, who is also executive articles editor of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal. “Sadly, one could argue that this is actually a cynical but true description of the state of play in fair use jurisprudence, but it goes against the whole import of the Copyright School. My sense is that the video is supposed to give users a basic, accurate primer on copyright law, not to discourage people from relying on established statutory protections.”

Thus, PK is putting up 1,000 smackeroos “for the best video that explains why use of unauthorized material isn't unlawful.”

Deadline for entries is May 23. Contest rules are on the Public Knowledge website.