On copyright: Updated the Actor Reel (with controversy!)

So, copyright. It's a tricky, wibbly-wobbly thing.

I updated my 'Actor Reel' recently - for those of you not in the Biz, an Actor's 'Reel' is basically a highlight film of their best  / favorite film & television appearances. And while most of my favorite stuff is from The Happy Hour Guys, I have done a few other things as well - so I finally took some time and edited up a batch featuring stuff from Chappelle's Show, Lipstick Jungle, THHG (of course), and a fun little comedy film I did with Caroline Rhea and Jay Potter (see Caroline below?) And so I uploaded my little showcase to my YouTube account.

Well, YouTube was not impressed. They were trying to the folks who created this stuff, the copyright holders of the clips I was uploading to their service. Almost immediately they sniffed them out and froze the reel, sending me a notice. I understood completely. I want this stuff to be protected. I hate it when people upload entire movies and shows to YouTube and everyone gets it for free and no one who actually busted their ass making it gets paid - that's way, way unfair.

Howeva, I want to get paid too. And this is one of the tools I use to get work. So then what?

Well, there is such a thing as Fair Use. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. I'm not trying to directly profit from this reel (other than letting people know I'm out there and open for business) - I haven't monetized it with advertising, and I don't care how many hits it gets. So I wrote YT back claiming that it was legal for me to use this material for reasons of Fair Use. This is my work, and it's how I get more work - people need to see it. 

Now I've traipsed around on both sides of this arguement - as a content creator with my film company, I believe in copyright and that the rights of creators MUST be upheld. But in our digital age, copyright is getting way fuzzy. The whole model needs some serious spiffing.