Monday, 1 March 2010

Fair use & take-down - dancing baby victory

US mum Stephanie Lenz sued Universal Music for issuing a notice to YouTube to take down her video of her toddler dancing cutely (with Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy" playing), when, she argued, she posted the video for friends and family and the presence of the music in the video was fair use and hence she didn't infringe US copyright law. She claimed they issued the takedown notice in bad faith.

Reuters now reports that a Californian district court judge has granted partial summary judgment to Lenz, rejecting Universal's arguments that Lenz acted in bad faith with "unclean hands" in trying to sue them for damages.The Reuters report says:

"The case is important because it raises the question of whether a media company can be held liable for pursuing a takedown without a full consideration of fair use. The decision by the court last Thursday is very technical and examines damage claims under a statutory code that deals with liability when misrepresentations are made about infringing works online."

See also EFF page (who supported and assisted Lenz) - not yet updated in light of these developments, it seems, but the Wikipedia page about this case links to the full text of the judgement: LENZ v.UNIVERSAL MUSIC CORP. I've not had the chance to read it yet.

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