UPDATED: Its Back. Earlier today, CinemaSins, the channel dedicated to critiquing and over analyzing every single movie in existence, published its regularly scheduled sins video. This video was to sin the Warner Bros. distributed movie Annabelle: Creation. However, visitors to the popular movie critic Youtube channel were not given their weekly dose of movie sins. Instead, they were presented with the above copyright claim by Warner Bros. The text reads as follows:
This video contains content from MC for Warner Bros., who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
Regardless of your thoughts on the quality of CinemaSins’ work, their videos clearly fall under fair use. For those unfamiliar or who need a refresher, fair use is typically judged under a four point litmus test.
- Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
- Nature of the copyrighted work
- Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work
There is much more detail to these tests, and they are almost exclusively used as a defense against a copyright infringement lawsuit. Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement that those submitting copyright claims, either through the DMCA or Google’s own ContentID system, consider potential fair use. That means, something like the above video can be taken down despite a strong case against it being infringing. This has long been an issue with copyright overreach in the US and throughout the world.
With copyright abuse like this becoming more and more common on the internet, it is imperative that copyright law be updated to make it clear that fair use is not just a defensive right, but an inherent right of the public. Providing critique and criticism is so common that to take down such videos is blatant abuse of copyright and should not be allowed.
We have reached out to CinemaSins for comment on the takedown of this video and have not yet received a response. We are also attempting to reach Warner Bros. about this as well. We will update the story when we receive a response from either organization.