*A YouTube video of a 13-month-old boy happily bouncing up and down to the Prince song, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ while pushing his little Fisher-Price stroller has caused quite a stir with the Universal Music Group. Though the 30-second-video clip was uploaded by the child’s mom, Stephanie Lenz, in 2007, Universal demanded it be taken down — saying it infringed upon copyright rules. Apparently, they didn’t think the mother had an inkling about ‘fair use’ and used this argument to appeal the ruling.
A court has cleared the way for her Appeal to move forward.
Intellectual Property continues to be a prickly situation because of its intangible nature. And usage of such properties on the Internet seems to have only exacerbated the problem. Universal Music had demanded YouTube take the video down (they did for a while) and cited copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
A September 14 article by The New York Times, states: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said copyright holders can’t demand videos and other content that uses their material be taken down without determining whether they constitute ‘fair use.’ It’s the first circuit court to issue such a ruling, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the civil liberties group that represented Lenz in her lawsuit.”
YouTube credits Lenz, who countered the motion filed by Universal, for sticking it out. She is now suing Universal for misrepresentation under the DMCA. It took eight years and a lot of arguments by attorneys, but the appeals court finally ruled that Universal never even considered whether the song playing in the background constituted fair use before they targeted the video as being in the wrong.
“Today’s ruling sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech,” commented Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Legal Director Corynne McSherry.
A Universal Music Group spokesman cited regulations from the Recording Industry Association of America, saying they disagreed with the ruling, which places “burden upon copyright holders before sending take-down notices.”
In support of the video, and the mom, I think Universal is being a bit picky with this one. The quality of the song on the video is so poor that you have to strain to even tell what song it is.
Watch the ‘Dancing baby video’ that went viral in its day, below.
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