Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Reviewing Apps on YouTube

Dear Rich: I am a relatively new YouTuber that is focusing on how to help other parents of autistic children. I thought it would be helpful to positively review different apps that I have used with my child. The first review that I wanted to do was a group of four apps that were all created by the same person. I have looked at all four apps in search of a licensing agreement. Basically, I wanted to use the apps on the iPad while I commented and explained how they worked -- usually in about 60 to 90 seconds each. Do you think this would need written permission? It would be unlikely that an app developer would object to your use of screen shots in a YouTube review. Because your use is limited (90 seconds of screen time) and is for purposes of commentary and criticism, it seems to fit squarely within fair use boundaries. One court has already ruled that screenshot reproduction, even for purely commercial purposes, constitutes a fair use.
Getting permission is always better than relying on fair use. If you have permission, there's no need to worry about pesky cease and desist letters or DMCA takedown notices. The downside to asking is that it alerts the owner of your intended use in case for some reason they're opposed to it. Also, before you ask, check the apps end user license agreement (EULA). The EULA may give you a limited right to use screenshots for review purposes. If not, you can email the owner and get permission.
Just saying' dept.  Some people have successfully claimed fair use even after a copyright owner refused a request for permission.