Thursday, August 14, 2008

Universal Goes Crazy

"Universal Music told a federal judge . . . Friday that takedown notices requiring online video-sharing sites to automatically remove content need not consider whether videos are protected by the 'fair use' doctrine." The case involves Stephanie Lenz's 29 second video of her son dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," which Universal sought to remove via a DMCA takedown notice at Prince's insistence that he has total control over all uses of his music. Lenz is now seeking damages on the grounds that in sending the takedown notice Universal knowingly misrepresented that Lenz's video was infringing. Since it is difficult to believe anyone involved in the music industry (other than, perhaps, Prince) would believe the video was infringing, I guess Universal has no argument left other than the one they made: fair use is irrelevant when considering the propriety of sending a takedown notice. It seems a weak reed on which to rest its case.

EFF's brief (pdf) in the case, by the way, is excellent.


Anonymous said...

just read the brief. yeah, it's good.
and the situation that bear commenting-on from many different angles -- from the point of view of common sense, and overall consistency, and entirely separate (or not?) from the legal interpretation.

1. would umg have submitted the same takedown notice to youtube, had little holden been rocking out to primus, b.b. king, robert plant, or nine inch nails? or is umg totally selective in the policing of use of their property?

2. given the entity in question, i.e. the itty bitty video of the rockin'-out holden... well, it's the video of holden. not the video of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as... (you get my drift here). in other words, little holden would have been the subject and star of the piece whether he was rockin' out to 20 seconds of: a. 'pop! goes the weasel' as cranked out by his little sister on her jack-in-the-box (no allusion to the fast-food chain here implied or intended); b. 'american music' by the violent femmes; c. the swishings and grindings of the dishwasher running in the background; or d. *all 20 seconds* of anything 20 seconds long.

3. wow. umg is really scared of 'the artist formerly formerly known as...'

4. if said artist really wants to assert iron-fisted control over the use of his work, he'd best unplug his amp and just play in his basement.

5. i'm totally glad spouse & i didn't videotape our wedding reception, or we'd be in trouble. 'cause guess whose music people were dancing to. really really horribly.


(especially thornily smart-alecky, 'cause it's friday.)

Anonymous said...

oh. and thorn is a horrifyingly bad typist when commenting on a blog in the middle of the workday.


Anonymous said...

gosh, i hate to do this. it's me again. there's another point that i can't resist making. (i mentioned that it's friday, right?)

6. umg's legal assault on lenz could have a chilling effect upon the gleeful spontaneity of little children. umg is pounding nail after nail into its *own coffin*.

how do you even *do* that?

thorn again.