Just when you thought the relationship between YouTube and rightsholders was entering calmer waters, things start to get choppy again.

Google has announced a pushback against “legally unsupported DMCA takedowns” on YouTube from music, TV and other rightsholders.

“YouTube will now protect some of the best examples of fair use on YouTube by agreeing to defend them in court if necessary,” wrote the company’s copyright legal director Fred von Lohmann in a blog post.

“We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns. With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the US, feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them.”

He added that YouTube’s ultimate aim is to create a “demo reel” of videos that count as fair use rather than infringement.

In truth, this could be as useful a resource for rightsholders as for video creators, although history suggests Google’s move will be seen as one of aggression within the creative industries.

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