Join me as I ‘react’ to the first three songs from Kanye West’s new album, Donda. I discuss the composition of the music and am using the original audio to inform and educate. This is “fair use”.
Let’s look at ‘fair use’… or ‘fair dealing’ as it is discussed in UK law with regards to a ‘reaction video’. First, let’s be fair here… the whole notion of a ‘reaction video’ is a relatively new concept and it is difficult for law-makers to evolve rules written for previous media. The definition of fair dealing will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression. Let’s examine the specific rules in UK law:
- Does my video affect the market for the original work? No. I talk over the music therefore no-one can ‘use’ my video as a direct replacement for the original work. It is not a substitute for it and it will not cause the owner to lose revenue. In fact it will likely increase revenue due to my ‘promotion’ of said work. Many have already stated they will buy albums due to my recommendations.
- Is the amount of the original work I have used reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount taken? ‘Reasonable’ is definitely subject to interpretation. I would argue that it is indeed appropriate to use the whole album when I am ‘reacting’ to the entire album. My reaction necessitates that I use the whole work. I am making comment on every aspect of the production from beginning to end. My videos constitute a thorough examination of the original work.
- Where it is necessary to ‘copy’ all of a work for the purposes of criticism or review you have to sufficiently acknowledge the work. I do this every step of the way. At no point will anyone be under the impression that I created the original work!
Furthermore, my additions to the original work are transformative in nature. My ‘voice-over’ transforms the audio into a critique which includes the original work but is now completely different from the original work. The visuals are intended to compliment the original work. The end result is a companion piece to the original work – a critique, reaction and review which would have been impossible in the era of the written word.