Digital Media · Fair Use

Idea Promo Video: Fair Use for News Footage?

Amber Pollard Founder

Last updated on June 25th, 2018

I'd like to create a professional video to explain my idea and get people on-board as co-founder or developers. My idea involves letting people watchdog and rate online news articles, so as a "priming" part of my video in showing why my tech product is needed is to show the political turmoil of the past 2-3 years.

This means I will want to include short clips that show tumultuous events of public unrest, protests.

I'm scouring quite a bit online to understand fair use policies (if I were to download news footage and incorporate it into a montage to show political unrest) -- but I'm having a hard time determining what is "commercial use" (I am not yet incorporated but hope to be, would an idea promo video be commercial use?)

Much of what is fair use is really I'm getting a bit scared. I really have almost no money to produce this video, so I don't know what guidelines I should follow. I mostly just want to create documentary-style montage of news events over the past few years.

All advise welcome...thank you!

Terry J. Warren II CEO at Bright Energies, Inc. Renewable Energy Online Finance Platform

July 4th, 2018

So the idea is that you will be A news media aggregator website. And your unique purpose is to provide their users the ability to fact check what that article is saying. So if you took politico and merged it with YouTube. I say YouTube because the platform you want to provide is using an algorithm that you created to decide what’s trending and what’s not and therefore what to vote on and what not?

Wes Kobernick Founder, Twin Suns Interplanetary & astrophysicist

June 29th, 2018

In my former life, I was given to understand that any media clips under 10 seconds in length can be used under fair use guidelines / laws. I'm not, nor was ever a take what I say with a grain of salt. Properly attributing clips helps. As for printed online news, that falls under the same guidelines as normal printed media. Quotes and citations to avoid plagiarism.

David M

July 6th, 2018

My thoughts are: Fair use for educational purposes will likely not be an acceptable position in this case as the use is not isolated and limited but rather used as a collection in a manner that will be utilized to build your company and company brand, a brand that will likely not be in alignment or agreement from the media brand from which you are utilizing. So that is issue one. Issue two, especially, if you create a commercial company that seeks to make millions of dollars through the use of news/media companys' video footage in a greater capacity, you will be sued at some point. While you might get by with one or two here and there, the argument that will likely be made is that you took short fair use clips in such a multitude as to constitute infringement through the collective use of a larger body of work that was and is representative of the brand of the news/media source from which you utilized it, and, because your intention is to profit from such work that you should have sought out licensing arrangements and agreements prior to the distribution of such work. And again even if you are non profit, because of the manner in which you are wanting to utilize it, I think you are walking into a very tedious licensing issue. That does not mean there are not ways around it. But definitely speak with several lawyers from both points of view yours and the media sources. The thing you have to realize, contracts exist only as guidelines, as do laws. You are not going to be able to criticize a major media network through ANY use of their material and not get tied up by a team of $1k an hour corporate lawyers.

David M

July 6th, 2018

In re-reading, I want to add just a bit onto this. First, register as an LLC or incorporate as soon as you decide to move forward with your company. Limit your liability ASAP. In re-reading I see that you are talking about a video to pitch your idea for the larger company that utilizes a technology. I misread a bit in thinking you wanted to amass political footage. My thoughts are do you really need to use actual news footage? I would think you could convey your concept without it. Its a good idea though. It does get into the whole "whose watching the people who are watching the people who are watching the people." "Who is justifying the sources who are justifying the sources, who are justifying the sources." As for the watchdog element. If all you are doing is getting Fox News or CNN watchers to act as the watchdogs all you are really creating is another form of social media. Not saying it isn't smart or could not be highly profitable...just wish there was a viable way to truly fact check without political bias.