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All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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Terms of Service, Take Twoshorter, higher-level, more fun

I’ve uploaded my second attempt at a video read-through of YouTube’s terms of service, this time as a much shorter, high-level fly-through, rather than a point-by-point with comments as they occurred to me. I’ve made the video public, with comments enabled, but fully moderated.

My major process takeaway from this shoot was that I should manually focus the camera on the printed page and lock it that way. Apart from the occasional autofocus issues that manual focus would sovle, I think I’m getting close to something watchable. But of course it’s not mostly my thoughts that count. Appreciate feedback!

I did record separate audio with a lavalier mic on my lapel this time, but the camcorder’s built-in mic actually seemed to work quite well, and I went with it. I think I mostly solved the problem of wobbling the table with big stacks of books. And the lighting seems better, despite filming at night.

I already have a list of specific topics within the YouTube terms that I’d like to cover in new videos. I’m hoping those can be even shorter, perhaps ten mintues or so. A few from my list:

  1. legal capacity and authority to agree to the terms

  2. requirement for personal, nonmcommercial use and the exception for promoting a business or artistic enterprise

  3. non-ownership of user names

  4. content licenses in depth, including YouTube’s license to use content to promote YouTube and limitation of the license to other users to the YouTube platform, with extra notes on optional Creative Commons licensing

  5. indemnification

  6. assent to terms, changes, termination, and notices

  7. deeper dive on indemnification

  8. deeper dive on disclaimers, exclusions, and damages cap

I sacrifice a bit of my original idea for the videos by reading and thinking about the terms ahead of time. It’s not longer truly extemp stream-of-lawyer-consciousness. But I’m discovering that’s just necessary to keep the videos to any reasonable length. In fairness, my line-by-line notes on licenses for the blog have always benefitted from prior familiarity and editing, even within the constraint of starting at the top and ending at the bottom. Preparation is usually a good thing.

I am going to have to give more though to my “not your lawyer” disclaimer, to make sure folks don’t mistake a YouTube video from some lawyer for the kidn of advice they really need. I don’t want to do any intro or catchphrase or “like and subscribe” nonsense as bookends around my videos. But I see the disclaimer ending more or less as my intro. I’ll want to keep it short without sacricing any completeness.

Come to think of it, I’ve long wanted to prep a proper talk about what lawyers mean when they say “not legal advice” or “lawyer, but not your lawyer”. Some of this came across here on the blog, in “I Am Not Advising Legally”. Perhaps turn that talk into a short video, and link it with a card form other videos.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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