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YouTube offers legal help to uploaders facing copyright claims

California residents are likely aware that individuals uploading copyrighted material to the Internet often face the wrath of attorneys representing the motion picture and music industries. YouTube relies on its users to generate content, and the popular video sharing platform announced on Nov. 19 that it will be offering legal support to account holders who have uploaded material that has prompted copyright claims from organizations like the MPAA and RIAA.

YouTube, which is owned by the Internet search giant Google, say that it will pay up to $1 million toward the legal costs of four users who are being sued for copyright infringement. The online giant say that their account holders have done nothing wrong because of the fair use exemption to copyright laws. The exemption protects those who use protected material providing that their intent goes beyond the original scope of the copyright holder. This exemption commonly protects those who review or parody protected material.

YouTube say that it has decided to support those accused of violating copyrights because of the heavy-handed behavior of attorneys representing copyright holders. The videos uploaded by the four users YouTube will be assisting include a video game review, a political commentary and a piece debunking a UFO sighting. Observers feel that YouTube's announcement could mark a defining moment in the continuing debate about how far copyright holders should go to prevent online piracy.

Protecting intellectual property is crucial for many California businesses, and attorneys with experience in this area may seek legal remedies when their clients' patents, trademarks and copyrights are violated. However, this kind of litigation can be costly, attorneys may recommend that these cases be settled when possible. Attorneys may also assess documents such as employee contracts and noncompete agreements to ensure that adequately protect trade secrets and intellectual property.

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