YouTube and Google have been getting slammed in various circles for its weak "copyright school" video
that it makes those accused of infringing copyrights on YouTube watch. Apparently the "copyright school" also has a quiz they want people to take, and people examining those questions are also finding some serious problems with them
Question 4 on my quiz read: "Copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is ________ without the permission of the copyright owner:" and then asked me to choose between reproduction, distribution, performance, and public display (or all of the above). Two problems here. First, section 106 only gives authors the right to public performance, not all performance. Second, the question assumes that if you don't have the copyright owner's permission you must be infringing, when the Copyright Act has no fewer than sixteen separate sections that establish limitations and exceptions to the author's rights (sections 107-122). For example, if your use is a fair use, you need no permission whatsoever from the author, and you've committed no copyright violation. What's more, Google knows this, because it's relied on these statutory exceptions in court time and time and time [pdf] again. I don't think Google actually means to take a "fair use for me but not for thee" position, so perhaps we can give Google the benefit of the doubt and assume it was intended as a trick question.
When I refreshed the page to take the quiz again I saw more questions that caused concern. "The following is not a good subject for your YouTube videos...." But "good" is a normative term, and copyright law has nothing to do with whether your work is good or not--just because your use is legal doesn't make it good, and vice versa. What Google really seemed to mean by "good" was "lower risk of infringement allegations." Again, as a private company it's Google's prerogative to decide what videos it wants to encourage users to post based on its own value judgments, but this seems to go against YouTube's reputation as an open space for users to create and express themselves freely.
It goes on along those lines. There are some serious problems with the quiz questions. That said, what this really demonstrates is just how difficult
it really is to explain today's copyright laws in a way that people understand them. That should be clearly seen as a problem with the law, not a problem of education.