I’m hoping for some advice.
I am making a promotional video/commentary video on Covid-19 that will likely end up on YouTube and Facebook. I would like to use some news footage. What are the rules for this sort of thing? Does this count as fair use?
No, it does not. You want to contact each news outlet and get their permission as well as their rate card for the usage. Don’t be scared to ask; it occasionally gets them to cut you a better deal because you’re approaching them on the up-and-up. Not always, but sometimes.
Anyway, fair use is not a free ticket to steal footage someone created commercially. Fair use is the defense you give the judge -after – you’ve been hauled into court in a very time-consuming, expensive litigation process, found guity of the appropriation (which is evident and not contestable) and then you’re throwing yourself on the mercy of the judge saying this was okay in this case because it had educational value or was an critique or etc. And your particular usage doesn’t fit any of the accepted excuses. if you go ahead and appropriate the imagery and try to monetize it you are going to get slapped hard. The AI used by the copyright owners will find you… it is very good at that.
Moreover, you asked this in a public internet forum which is searchable by the copyright owners’ legal team during discovery, so you’re already on record for a potential lawsuit. From here on out you’re committed to doing it by the book or not at all.
If you wanna do something for money, buy stock footage for it or shoot your own.
I’m not a lawyer, but as I understand it, anything “published” on the Internet is copyrighted, even though a specific copyright has not been asserted. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So, you may not repurpose anything you find on the web without permission, even if your project is non-commercial. As Mark Suszko notes, there is the “fair use” exception for news, commentary, education, and parody, but that’s not likely to apply if the final product is monetized or promotional.