on my things to do before I die list I have decided to publish on youtube a satirical attack on quantum woo.
I will draw heavily upon the movie "what the bleep do we know" and go for guys like gothswami, chopra etc.
I am not a publisher or anything and don't want to be sued.
how do I learn about the laws of cutting and editing the work of commercial publishers to protect myself?
In the US under Fair Use
you can include various portions of material under copyright without prior permission. The amount you can include varies with the purpose of your work. Famously, Weird Al Yankovic
has created parodies of numerous songs/videos and he was not required to get permission to create these parodies of copyrighted material. However, also famously Weird Al seeks permission from the artists before he creates and publishes his parodies. The most famous refusals to Weird Al parodies have come from Prince, but Prince is consistently a bit of a dick.
When used in reporting, discussion or commentary, the amount of Fair Use is only the amount required to report, to make your commentary or to promote discussion. There is not a particular time limit for this but the guideline that most media people follow is about 30 seconds for a video production of some length like a TV show, movie or documentary (also the average length of a TV commercial which itself can often be used in its entirety), and about 8-10 seconds for a pop song, for example (to sing a verse or a chorus). The amount of Fair Use is only the amount to make a point in your work, not to become the whole point of your work. Since a parody requires the whole work, the whole work is allowed.
Nevertheless, your work would be more novel and viral-worthy if it consists of your own creation. The more original your work, the more likely it is to get better airplay. Even when using copyrighted material via Fair Use you will encounter a problem, especially with YouTube, where the copyright owners electronically patrol submissions and issue take-down notices to YouTube that you are using their copyrighted material. This is done by copyright holders crawling YouTube and comparing bits to determine if someone is uploading unowned material. The take-down notices are done by computers, not humans, so there is no review by a human to determine if Fair Use is occurring. The copyright holders have essentially nullified Fair Use on YouTube by automated take-downs. How/why some YouTubers can upload copyrighted material without a take-down is beyond me as there are entire movies and seasons of TV shows available. Either they have managed to change a sufficient number of bits to confuse the crawlers or some copyright holders simply do not care. Some YouTubers will speed up a song slightly to change the bits and avoid detection by the crawlers.
I had 3 videos of a wedding reception uploaded to YT and got a notice from YT that the music in the background was a copyright violation so YT removed the entire audio tracks of my video submissions of a wedding reception. Certainly the point of the clips was not to use copyrighted material (people were dancing and the quality of that audio was rather awful considering the poor sound quality of the hall), but fine, okay, whatever ... Some comical things have happened where a copyright holder such as NBC has ordered a take-down of its own material because someone forgot to ignore crawling a particular YT channel, such as among its various own YT channels. I think The Today Show was in violation of its own copyrights for nearly a week before somebody at NBC noticed the error. Worse, for some really bizarre reason, companies with commercials will issue take-down notices just because their commercials have been played as part of a YT stream. What is the point of doing something like that? The more your commercial is played, the better. Some people just don't fucking get the internet.
I have no idea what the local/international laws/regulations are if you are uploading such material either to a different YT domain or uploading from outside the US to a US domain. However, the likelihood of you getting sued/arrested for such a thing is rather low. The crawlers will just shut it down and then no longer give a damn because your stuff is off the air. You could have your Google account suspended or deleted. Woo-hoo!