At SES San Jose 2009, I spoke with Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR, about some common legal questions and issues with regard to online video.  Greg talks about “IP extremism” – the increase of attorneys’ knee-jerk legal reactions – including cease-and-desist orders and sometimes lawsuits –to seeing any instance of their client’s owned video content being up on YouTube and everywhere on the web by others even if those uses clearly fall under legally protected fair use guidelines.

Greg points out a problem with lawyers “dictating what the video content should be,” and says it can have a negative impact on creativity. “The whole concept of copyright was not designed to give protection to people in perpetuity,” and that more protection of fair use is needed in our industry, he says. “Unfortunately, lawyers are ruling the day over content creators,” and especially on YouTube.

I asked Greg about how IP attorneys and entertainment law attorneys – the legal practice areas for most attorneys who deal with most of the issues involving online video for business usage, and many for consumer usage – can better educate themselves about online video.

Greg believes that right now most of the lawyers who are fighting these battles may be of a generation that is unfamiliar with online video, and treat YouTube as a threat. “I think there’s a watershed in generations.” Says Greg. “We may need a generation that grew up with YouTube as sort of ‘digital natives’ to become lawyers, to finally realize that this is silly.”

I also ask Greg about a common question we get at ReelSEO: “Can someone besides YouTube, take someone else’s video on YouTube and do with it what they wish?”

“I think it all comes down to what’s reasonable.” Says Greg, giving common fair use examples such as mashups and parodies. Greg ends with urging lawyers to keep more of an open mind and educate themselves about online video, and treat derivative works as being potentially more helpful to the original content owner’s own brand, than adversarial. “You should see as a new marketing opportunity as opposed to a legal problem.” He says.

Greg is a longtime speaker at Search Engine Strategies conferences and author of the recently-released book, YouTube and Video Marketing – An Hour a Day.

This interview was recorded at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, August 11-13, 2009.  Special thanks to our sponsor for video coverage of the conference – TurnHere. TurnHere Internet Video is a leading online video marketing services company. Check out the TurnHere affiliate program and earn money by offering online video marketing solutions to your clients.