Fair Use Template

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to appeal the removal of my video for containing copyrighted material. My video’s use of copyrighted material is clearly covered under each of the four pillars of Fair Use, as outlined below.

As a student at a non-profit university, the purpose of my video is for the analysis of film form and teaching others. In the video I presented an analytical claim that [THESIS]. My video’s purpose is primarily non-commercial rhetorical criticism.

I have only used published, publicly-available film clips. Given the context of my video essay, film analysis, the use of these clips was essential for a visual understanding of my argument.

According to Purdue OWL, “reproducing only a small part of a copyrighted work is more acceptable than using an entire work.” Fair Use doesn’t specify a precise time length for how much copyrighted work can be present in a video, but my video, which contains many clips, is less than 10 minutes long. Represented as a portion of [most heavily used primary source], 10 minutes is a mere (10/total runtime) of the complete work.

By using short, less than 2 minute, clips, it’s unlikely that this video will have any market effect on the films it references. If anything, my video essay encourages viewers to purchase and watch the films that are analyzed.  Realistically, the video will only be seen by a small audience of the 22 students in the class.

When all four pillars of Fair Use are considered together, my video is not only protected by Fair Use but an example of the kind of great work Fair Use makes possible. Please continue to support Fair Use by unblocking my video’s content.



[Your name]


The University of Texas at Austin

Fair Use Appeal Part 3

Question: How much of the work will be used?

Fair Use is a doctrine that justifies the use of a copyrighted work for predetermined purposes (like analysis, criticism, or news), under certain circumstances. There are four questions one must ask themself in order to determine whether or not the way they used copyrighted work qualifies as “fair use.” One of these deals with time length. According to Purdue OWL, “reproducing only a small part of a copyrighted work is more acceptable than using an entire work.” Fair use doesn’t specify a precise time length for how much copyrighted work can be present in a video, so I recognize that this is all subjective. To ensure that one does not run into such problems he or she should greatly limit the amount of material that they incorporate into their project. In [insert video title here] I only used [insert video length] of [title of copyrighted work] which should be covered under fair use, since the total length of the video was [insert time length here] and I only used [percentage] of it.

Fair Use: Group 2

The Nature of the Copyrighted Work

My video essay’s use of source material qualifies as fair use under the nature of the copyrighted work. Although I used creative work (film), it is also published work and served as a medium for my rhetorical analysis only. Given the context of my video essay, film analysis, the use of these clips was essential for a visual understanding of my argument. Therefore, using clips from the film itself aided in my rhetorical approach but was not meant for any other purpose beyond that of enriching my video essay. The intention was purely to inform and educate an audience on the rhetorical techniques used in [list of film(s)].

Fair use appeal part 1- “What is the purpose of the use?”

As a student at a non-profit higher institution, the purpose of my video is for the analysis of film form and teaching others. In the video I presented an analytical claim that (Insert Thesis of Video). I used copyrighted source material from (List clips) to further advance and build upon my claim and analysis. There is no commercial use for my video, just rhetorical criticism and comment. It was created as a response to a university project and is meant for educating and showing my analysis of codes in film.

Fair Use Appeal Part 4 : Market Effect

In regards to [my video essay], the market effect on the original work can only be positive.

[This video essay] is designated solely for the purpose of rhetorical analysis. It is presented in an educational manner for academia. By using short, less than 2 minute, clips, this video will not hurt any of the respective films’ stream of revenue. The film clips used in this educational video do not reveal any spoilers or key plot points that would refrain viewers from watching the films presented. If anything, [my video essay] encourages viewers to purchase and watch the films that are analyzed. It gives new perspectives and insights on films that ignite/reignite interest in the films depicted. In a way, it almost acts in the same way as trailers, making people interested in the entire film from the short clips that are presented and analyzed. [This video essay] would increase interest, and therefore the purchasing of the actual films. Because the video is so short and only features limited information, it doesn’t unfairly take away any earnings from the directors, actors, and producers of the films.

Concerning the effect on theater and distribution markets, [this video essay] does not infringe on any business. It is only being used for educational, not commercial, uses. It is not competing with legal distribution methods, such as DVDs and authentic streaming services like Netflix, as it serves more of a complementary function to the actual movies.  Also, realistically, [this video essay] will only be seen by a small audience of the 22 students in the class. This is nothing compared to the capacity of a large, commercial theater. Because of this, my video essay does not violate any fair use restrictions.

Note : anything in brackets can be substituted for the title of your actual video essay.

Groups, Fair Use Assignment



Group 1: Cuillin, MG, Don, Daniel, Madison
Group 2: Jamie, Victoria, Kaitlin, Pearl, Yessenia
Group 3: Sophia, Angel, Savannah, Michael, Harrison
Group 4: Christian, Alfredo, Sam, David, Bo

Your first research group assignment is to draft a paragraph arguing that our video essays’ use of source material qualifies as Fair Use.  Recall the Purdue Owl handout on Fair Use we went over in class:

This resource works mostly with 17 U.S.C. § 107 on fair use, which provides the conditions that allow the limited use of copyrighted works. Again, these strategies are general rather than specific, and fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis. Four factors are considered when determining fair use:

  • What is the purpose of the use?
  • What is the nature of the copyrighted work?
  • How much of the work will be used?
  • What is the market effect on the original work of the use?

Fair use is determined by weighing these four factors either for fair use or for asking permission to use the work. If the answers to the majority of the questions are “yes,” then the use can be considered fair use;. However, if the majority of the answers are no then permission to use the work must be obtained.

The purpose of this draft is to give class members a template to work from when drafting a Fair Use appeal to YouTube.  Feel free to leave blanks/ indicate where specific content from each video might be useful evidence for a classmate to add to the general template.  We will compile all four pieces into one template to use for our Fair Use appeals.  Your group should submit your assigned section to the blog by 5 pm on Friday, April 15.  

Group 1:  “What is the purpose of the use?”

Group 2: “What is the nature of the copyrighted work?”

Group 3: “How much of the work will be used?”

Group 4: “What is the market effect on the original work of the use?”

Using “B-roll” footage; citations

I wanted to follow up on Alfredo’s and Cuillen’s questions from class today in more depth, especially since both questions help expand our digital literacy.

Alfredo asked if Fair Use covered footage from a film used as a transition.  We know from our Fair Use discussion today that an image that is central to analysis is most firmly protected by the “purpose of the use” pillar of Fair Use.  But I think our discussion did not explain how what I call “b-roll” footage is central to analysis.  The explanation of why is an important exploration in composition and digital rhetoric, so I want to thank Alfredo for introducing this nuance as a problem for our class project.

“B-roll” is a term from documentary film-making.  Anthony Artis explains in more detail below, in this snippet of “Your B-roll is your A-roll“:

“The term ‘B-roll’ comes from the world of film where editors used to use an “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age changed everything. B-roll shots are similar to cutaways in that they help break up the static interview shots, but B-roll plays a more major role in telling a visual documentary story.

A long-time documentary filmmaker I know actually refuses to use the term B-roll, because she feels it diminishes the importance of these visuals—and she’s right. B-roll should not be a secondary or low priority. It really should be thought of as “A-roll,” because it is the action of your story, which serves to reveal character. Without it, you’ve just got a bunch of talking heads… booor-ing.

Even with an engaging storyteller speaking, the audience still needs to see visuals of the scene, settings, characters, and action of the story. An interview or voice-over itself is the narration or literal telling of the story. The B-roll is the showing of the story. Together they can complement each other by painting a more complete picture. That amazing guitarist could tell us what it was like to play Woodstock (the real one), but we’ve only got half the story until we cut in the B-roll shots that show the multitudes of free-spirited, mud-covered hippies swirling to the music as far as the camera lens can see. A soldier could tell us what it’s like to be in combat, but when we cut in a shot of explosions and a chaotic firefight, his story takes on real human meaning. Now we’ve got a much stronger sense of story than either an interview or B-roll footage alone could have given us.”

Think about how your B-roll is functioning in a video essay.  Like Alfredo says (and I think he’s absolutely right which is why I bothered to go and watch a couple video essays with his question in mind at 9:45 on a Tuesday night), tons of video essays use film clips and secondary sources as transitional material.  It works like the illustrative material that Artis is calling “B-roll”.  Here’s the big exception to how you’re using your B-roll and how a documentary film maker uses their B-roll (i.e. why the documentary filmmaker can’t claim Fair Use).  You’re flipping to B-roll when you want to show a bunch of examples of what you’re talking about at once (sort of like a mini-supercut) or when you’re showing a secondary source.  Then you’re cutting back to the big scene you’re analyzing for your “A-roll”.  Both A and B are functioning together to “paint a more complete [analytical] picture”.  By this construction, you’re pairing an analytical claim (“Film does this…”) with visual examples.  Then you’re using a single sustained example to make a more localized claim.  Your video essay, if it imitates what we’ve watched, does some version of this swap several times–between A-roll and B-roll.

If your B-roll is neither

a) evidence for your claim nor

b) a secondary source you are bringing into your conversation

then it is likely not covered under Fair Use.  Source material you use for this purpose from databases of material with the appropriate Creative Commons license for your use.  

The video essays that have survived copyright strikes do so because they understand this distinction.  We will talk about this in class more on Thursday.  If you’re looking for transitional footage that is not covered under Fair Use, here is a great resource guide for how to find it.  The video below explains Creative Commons in 3 minutes! Check it out.


Watch how Lewis Bond uses A-roll, B-roll, and transitional material (gathered from Creative Commons) when he discusses film composition–or choose your own favorite video essayist and do this same analysis for the first 5 minutes of the author’s argument.  We’ll dissect this example in class on Thursday. (P.S. Turn on the CC and you’ll see how Lewis Bond gives credit for his primary sources.)


Cuillen asked how to cite sources in the video essay itself.  Here’s some screenshots that show different strategies.

In the video info, like NerdWriter:
NerdWriter citation

Image Source: Nerdwriter

Giving your film “credits” (Kevin B. Lee, Tony Zhou)

Kevin B Lee citation

Image Source: Fandor

Tony Zhou citation

Image source: Every Frame a Painting

I’ve also seen people put citations in as annotations, but I like that less because most people turn annotations off.  (It’s also a pain to do.)

Importing external data into Premiere

I experimented a bit this weekend with the quickest way to import data from a DVD or big video file into Premiere.

You can’t take files directly from a DVD because they are encrypted to deter pirating.  So first off, you probably want to convert anything you’re putting into your video essay into an .mkv file. The three major competing video files types are .mkv (universal), .avi (Microsoft supported), or .mp4 (Apple supported).  You will be submitting your final project in .mp4, so keep that in mind as you explore these digital file converting tools.

To convert DVD material into .mkv:

  • Download MakeMKV
  • Install MakeMKV from .exe or .dmg file
  • Open MKV application.
  • Put DVD in computer drive. (I’ve checked out an external DVD drive for the PAR 102 computers.  Just ask the proctor for it if you don’t see it out.)
  • Choose “File”–>”Open Disc” and select your disc.
  • The DVD contents will now show up in MakeMKV and you can choose to export them in .mkv form to your desktop.  Choose the portions you want to save as .mkv and continue.  (Sometimes it can be tricky to tell and you’ll just have to import more than you need and figure it out afterward.)
  • MakeMKV will suggest a directory for your new .mkv files.  Let the program run and then move your files to whatever folder you’re using to store the stuff you’re importing into your video editor.  I use UT Box to manage my files so that I can work on my project on multiple machines.  Be sure to follow the directions in the Premiere walkthrough if you use UT box to manage your files, as well.

You don’t need to convert standard video files like .mov or .avi to import them into Premiere because Premiere integrates all these file types into the “sequence” you create in your project (giving them the same frame rate, audio codex, etc.)  But if you need to convert a video file into .mkv or .mp4, do the following:

  • Download Handbrake (we have this on DWRL lab computers already).
  • Install Handbrake from .exe or .dmg file.
  • Open Handbrake.
  • Choose “File” –> “Open Source” and select your video file.
  • On the dash output settings, choose “.mkv” or “mp4” and select your file destination.
  • Press play on your dash to begin the encoding.
  • You can now import your new video file into your video editor.