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Online Video Takedowns: What Happened to "Buffy vs. Edward"?

Jonathan McIntosh's Buffy vs. Edward

What can I do if my online video is challenged on YouTube?

Dear CSM:

My friend told me the guy behind Buffy v. Edward had his video pulled from YouTube based on a copyright dispute! I thought he was fair use protected. How can online video generators protect their own work?


Dear Concerned:

Actually, the system worked in this case, although slower than many would want. Remixer McIntosh was fully  within his fair use rights, and his work was restored. His gender critique, Buffy v. Edward, is now back online.

But he did need to show a rightsholder that he understood those rights. (Indeed, McIntosh’s pop-culture hit is actually listed in an official US Copyright Office document that cites Buffy v Edward as an apt example of a creation exempt from copyright circumvention prosecution, given the strong application of fair use principles.) Because he knew his rights, he could assert them.

Jonathan McIntosh  is a vigorous fair user and creative artist; he's also a friend of the Center for Social Media. He is among the people who use and helped to spread the word about the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

What happened

Lionsgate Entertainment (the owner of the "Twilight" franchise) issued the takedown of the mash-up after McIntosh refused the corporation's efforts to generate revenue via the insertion of Nordstrom pop-up ads into his video. McIntosh formally engaged a fair use dispute filing process Buffy vs. Edward dispute claimedthat is part of YouTube's compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's provisions. The process allows creators to assert their fair use rights, which McIntosh did. With reassurance from non-profit lawyers over at New Media Rights, McIntosh got his fair use rights and rationale acknowledged by Lionsgate.  

For fans of the social commentary McIntosh crafts, section six of the “Fair Use for Online Video” code, “Quoting In Order to Recombine Elements to Make a New Work,” is a particularly helpful resource when constructing a copyright appropriating work that endeavours to remain within the scope of fair use.  


Know your fair use rights and assert them. If you understand a copyright holder's claim to be invalid (and many of them are simply issued automatically, as a result of a computer match, without human intervention), then assert your rights.