8 years ago, Universal Music sent a takedown notice over Stephanie Lenz's 29-second Youtube video of her kids dancing in the kitchen to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy."
EFF took on Lenz's case, arguing that Universal knew that 29 seconds of incidental background music was fair use and was abusing the DMCA through its censorship notice.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Lenz's and EFF's favor today, ruling that rightsholders must consider fair use before issuing takedowns. The court found that people whose creations were censored through DMCA abuse could sue the companies that filed the censorship demands, even if they couldn't show monetary damages from the censorship.
Next up: another trial where we find out if Universal has to pay damages for knowingly abusing the DMCA.
Today’s ruling in the Lenz case comes at a critical time. Heated political campaigns—like the current presidential primaries—have historically led to a rash of copyright takedown abuse. Criticism of politicians often includes short clips of campaign appearances in order to make their argument to viewers, and broadcast networks, candidates, and other copyright holders have sometimes misused copyright law in order to remove the criticism from the Internet.
“The decision made by the appeals court today has ramifications far beyond Ms. Lenz’s rights to share her video with family and friends,” said McSherry.“We will all watch a lot of online video and analysis of presidential candidates in the months to come, and this ruling will help make sure that information remains uncensored.”
Important Win for Fair Use in ‘Dancing Baby’ Lawsuit [EFF]
Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule.
Back in March, the House passed the Music Modernization Act, a welcome bill made it easier for musicians to get paid reliably for digital streaming.
Wonderful EFF supporters keep on coming up with great new entries for EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices, which lists fictional devices that should exist, but don't, because to achieve their legal, legitimate goals, the manufacturer would have to break some Digital Rights Management and risk retaliation under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. […]
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