Google announced last week that they will start defending some of their users in court when "fair use" ("fair dealing" in Canada) is at stake.

Google is promising to, with consent of the video creator, “keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them.”. Although this will only be for a “small number of videos”, this is a big step forward for fair use/fair dealing. Establishing important precedents in favour of creators will help the public and YouTube.

BoingBoing.net has a few comments and background information about Google's move.