THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'S attempts at either jailing or fining a mother for nicking the artist formerly known as Prince, then known as symbol and then known as Prince again, sound track in a Youtube has failed.
Universal Music accused Stephanie Lenz of piracy on the high seas, er, copyright infringement, after she dared to post a video of her happy toddler dancing to Michael Jackson singing a song on the radio.
All perfectly innocent, unless you are a music industry executive who is desperate to claim that the industry is being destroyed by dirty rotten pirates and not your own bad management.
Universal, the world's largest music label, had sent a takedown notice to Youtube in 2007 over a video clip of Lenz's child bouncing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy."
What the music industry didn't expect was that Lenz would fight back so rather than think "What is the PR value involved here?" it decided to fight dirty.
It tried a novel attack strategy. It said that even if the music was used legally, it was also infringing at the same time. Why? Well, because the song was copyrighted and owned by Universal.
It tried to claim that its own DMCA notice was not legitimate. It attacked Lenz's counsel, the Electronic Fronter Foundation, for daring to help her to defend the case.
Universal also said Lenz had "unclean hands" for making supposedly false allegations in her lawsuit.
US District Judge Jeremy Fogel finally had enough of the music industry's bizarre antics and granted partial summary judgement.
He didnt award Lenz damages but has opened the way for her lawyers to get her attorneys' fees from her initial case against the bogus takedown.
The case should stop the music industry from threatening websites with bogus take-down notices under the DMCA laws. Basically for an outfit to issue a DMCA take down they have to believe that the notice is genuine and consider fair use.
A person with common sense would see that a video of a kid dancing to a song on the radio is pretty much fair use. Unfortunately the music industry has shown a lack of common sense over the years. Also unfortunately, neither have the politicians, who have been listening to it a little too enthusiastically. µ
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