writes: California Judge Jeremy Fogel has ruled that the Universal Music can be sued for filing an improper DMCA takedown notice. The story began in Feb. 2007 when Stephanie Lenz posted a 29 second Youtube video of her toddler laughing and dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" (heard somewhat indistinctly in the background). Universal sent a DMCA takedown notice four months later to Youtube which complied. Mrs. Lenz then filed a lawsuit with the Electronic Frontier Foundation for DMCA abuse as the video was an obvious example of Fair Use and Universal should have known it. Incidentally the DMCA provides a provision for lawsuits against DMCA abuse. Among the rejected arguments that Universal made why the lawsuit should be dismissed:
- Fair Use is not a sufficient defense in copyright infringement
- The DMCA does not require a copyright holder to determine if alleged material falls under Fair Use
- There is no "self-evident" Fair Use.
- It could not have been Fair Use as a video showing a toddler dancing would undermine the market of videos showing toddlers dancing.
- It was not a DMCA notice as it had a disclaimer saying it wasn't a DMCA notice. (Although it followed the procedure of a DMCA takedown and was sent to the DMCA takedown email address at Youtube.)
One of the things the Universal admitted to ABC News:
Prince believes it is wrong for YouTube, or any other user-generated site, to
appropriate his music without his consent. That position has nothing to do with any
particular video that uses his songs. It's simply a matter of principle. And legally,
he has the right to have his music removed. We support him and this important
principle. That's why, over the last few months, we have asked YouTube to remove
thousands of different videos that use Prince music without his permission