Not even Alex Gonzaga was spared by copyright rules

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Alex Gonzaga learned copyright rules the hard way when her video was taken down on the biggest social networking platform. Image shows Gonzaga on the cover of the video. In this photo, Gonzaga stars in "Pure Love." (ABS-CBN PR)

Kapamilya actress Alex Gonzaga’s parody video of Ariana Grande’s “Into You” single was apparently taken down on Facebook after being reported for copyright issues.

On April 10, the TV personality posted on Twitter a screenshot of a Facebook message informing her that her video had been removed after being reported for copyright reasons.

Generally, Facebook provides an option for its users to report any content, like a video, they consider to violate the rights of others, in this case, copyright laws.

The viral spoof follows Gonzaga lip syncing Grande’s popular song while cavorting with the locals in Manila. She introduces the video with a message that admits she knew the music is not hers in the first place.

“This is for old time’s sake. Remember when we used to play piko? So please YouTube, Ariana, and the people, don’t delete this video,” the disclaimer read.

Despite such message, a third-party complainant still reported the video. The party must have assumed that the Kapamilya host used the copyrighted work of another artist for her own video without the owner’s permission.

Watch out, Alex! Facebook is stricter than YouTube

Copyright is the legal right of any person over his or her own work, which includes visual, audio and written works. For Facebook, copyright infringement happens if you copy or distribute the works of another, or used another person’s work to create your own. This covers even a video recording which captures some background music that’s copyrighted.

Facebook can immediately remove a video you posted without contacting you if it has been reported to contain another party’s copyrighted work. Facebook will only notify you after the video has been removed.

“It’s generally a good idea to get permission before posting content, and to get that permission in writing. Please note that Facebook can’t help you obtain permission to use copyrighted content,” Facebook explained in the the policy.

YouTube, on the other hand, takes “fair use” into account. The doctrine allows content creators, under certain circumstances, to reuse copy-protected material without permission from owners.

YouTube says that in the United States, “works of commentary, criticism, research, teaching, or news reporting might be considered fair use.” The concept of fair use in the Philippines follows that of the US.

This may be the reason why the questioned video is still on YouTube, where there are thousands of song covers and parodies by users around the world.

Despite this, a judge will have the last say on whether a material is covered by the fair use doctrine based on four factors.

Post original work only

As long as you used someone else’s work without permission, you may be violating intellectual property rights whether you don’t intend to.

“For example, when someone else uploads your photo or video, they made a copy of that photo or video. The same is true if someone uses a song in the soundtrack to a video, even if they paid for a copy of that song on another service,” Facebook’s policy said.

To be safe, Facebook advises to only publish or post content that you have created.