I was watching a YouTube video on an academic subject, and at the end, the creator said that they left a link to their Google Drive with all the sources listed in the video. In that drive, which was accessible to all who clicked the link, they had several papers from Taylor & Francis that were not free. So, it made me wonder about the digital copyright laws. Now, I know from watching Legal Eagle that when you buy a copyrighted material, you are free to do what you want with it, such as sell it, give it away, or rent it to others. I can't find the court case, but I know it was involved Blockbuster. Now, I THINK the one exception he mentioned was that you can't just copy it and start selling it.
For something to be considered "Fair Use", there is a four factor test to be considered:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
For the first factor, while the work (the video) does appear to be for the purposes of non-profit education, the citations are not transformative and do not advance knowledge or progress the arts, as they are exact copies.
As for the second factor, because the YouTuber was reproducing exact replicas, they were definitely republishing the expression of ideas and not a reworded stating of the ideas.
Again, because these are exact reproductions of entire works, I believe the content fails the the third factor as well.
Lastly, regarding the fourth factor, because these are digital copies of whole pieces of work, being offered for free, I believe the content fails the fourth factor of the test as well.
Given this, I am reasonably sure that what this YouTuber was doing was illegal. But, I don't know. So, I have some questions:
Is what the YouTuber did illegal?
What is the legal way to share digital copies of copyrighted work? Is it ever legal to make a copy and give it to someone?
If I legally purchase a paper from one of these academic publishing companies, then write a blog or create a YouTube video using it as a source, could I create a link to that document in my Google Drive that is only allowed to be looked at by one person at a time, sort of mimicking sharing a physical copy (I don't know if that's possible on Google Drive, or any of the cloud devices, but let's imagine that it is)?
Lastly, please cite laws and court cases that support your argument. Thanks.