Wednesday, July 25, 2007

EFF sues Universal over 'fair use' of song in YouTube video

Via Michael Geist: EFF sues Universal over 'fair use' of song in YouTube video Michael says:

"The EFF has filed a lawsuit against the Universal Music
Publishing Group after the company asked that a home video
be removed due to copyright infringement. The video features
an 18-month old Holden Lenz dancing to Prince's Let's Get
Crazy and runs for a total of 29 seconds. Following
Universal's complaint the video was removed by You Tube and
remained offline until recently."

The EFF say:

"Universal's takedown notice doesn't even pass the laugh test," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Copyright holders should be held accountable when they undermine non-infringing, fair uses like this video."

Last May, UMPG's parent company, Universal Music Group, sent a baseless copyright takedown demand to YouTube for a video podcast by political blogger Michelle Malkin. That video was quickly reposted after Malkin fought back.

"Copyright abuse can shut down online artists, political analysts, or -- as in this case -- ordinary families who simply want to share snippets of their day-to-day lives," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Universal must stop making groundless infringement claims that trample on fair use and free speech."

The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Lenz's home video does not infringe any Universal copyright, as well as damages and injunctive relief restraining Universal from bringing further copyright claims in connection with the video.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project to develop a set of "best practices" for proper takedowns under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

For the video (since reposted):

For the full complaint:

For more on DMCA abuse and free speech:

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