We own a list channel on YouTube, we make videos such as “7 Biggest Houses in the World” everything is under fair use (we have a voiceover over the clips and we use minimal footage as possible) and sometimes there are watermarks on video clips, are we allowed to blur the watermarks on the clip? I know for a fact that cropping a watermark is a direct violation of copyright law, as stated on “Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act” but what about blurring a watermark? One of my competitors that has 3 million subs on YouTube and he always blurs watermarks on video clips, really confused on if blurring a watermark is a direct violation of copyright law or if it’s ok to do and legal? If you search on YouTube "the finest 15 biggest trucks in the world" and if you go to 2:27 - 2:29 of the video, they’re blurring the watermark on the video clip and they do this for every video, so is this legal? Because news channels do that as well where they blur watermarks on video clips.
17 USC 1202(b) states:
Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information.—No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law— (1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information, (2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law, or (3) distribute, import for distribution, or publicly perform works, copies of works, or phonorecords, knowing that copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law, knowing, or, with respect to civil remedies under section 1203, having reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement of any right under this title.
In the suggested sample, it is impossible to judge whether the blurred SE corner is “copyright management information”, defined in para (c), because it has been, well, blurred. For example, if the blurred portion says "Call now, operators waiting" or "Don't do this at home!", that is not copyright management information. Assuming that this is the manufacturer's name (the video being a work for hire so Terex holds the copyright), then blurring that label without permission would be a violation of this section of copyright law.