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One of the factors courts consider when determining when use of copyrighted material falls under fair use is whether the use is for “nonprofit educational purposes”.

Now, some claim or assume that educational YouTube videos count as “educational” for this purpose, and that channels that aren’t monetized are non-commercial/non-profit. But I’ve seen others claim that “educational” in fair-use law only applies to professional educators in an academic environment (teachers screening a documentary in class, etc.), and thus nothing on YouTube counts as “educational” for fair use; and that because YT is a for-profit commercial entity, nothing posted to it is ever “non-commercial”/“non-profit” in the eyes of fair use, regardless of a channel’s monetization status.

Which view is correct? I’ve tried Googling, but I can’t find any clear answers. (The closest I’ve found is this Law SE post, but aside from the title, the actual question is completely different and unrelated to mine.)

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  • FWIW, "nonprofit educational purposes" while it is one factor in fair use, is routinely exaggerated in importance relative to other factors by non-lawyers. Copyright is a property law concept and not an unjust enrichment concept, even though perhaps it shouldn't be.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 21 at 18:07

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