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My YouTube Account is Soiled

Over the course of a four days I received two copyright notices regarding some of the videos on my YouTube page.

One was a message telling me that if I did not respond and consider removing a few videos, they may file copyright claims against them. I responded, pointing out that I believe the videos could be considered fair use. I've not heard back, and in the meantime I removed the videos from public consumption so that I can evaluate them under the strictest sense of "fair use."

The second was a series of three messages informing me that three of my videos had been removed entirely due to a copyright claim. I also believed these videos to be "fair use" as I reviewed the 90-minute video from which these short clips came.

The first person engaged in a conversation and offered a warning of sorts. The second did irreparable damage to my account, as I will now permanently have a "strike" against me and an account that is not in good standing, despite the distinct possibility that the videos are all legitimately fair use.

YouTube - rightly so - is on the side of the potential copyright holders. But I think it'd be nice to have some sort of middle ground for first time offenders who can make at least a small claim that the content was posted in they offer no ability to say "eh, I disagree, but since this is the first time I'm going to delete the stuff and avoid the hassle."

That's essentially how the first person handled it - by sending me a message instead of immediately filing an essentially irreversible claim - and how the second person could have handled things.

Instead, I now have a YouTube account that's permanently soiled and will never be able to be returned to good standing ((Copyright strikes never go away.)). What am I to do? Remove all of my content, delete the account, and re-upload it to a new account? Continue with my soiled account that is now limited in features (I can't have an unlisted video, for example.)? Something else?

I'd file a counter-claim, but it's such a hassle and I'm only 95% certain that the videos are "fair use." It's not worth it.