In 2008, Universal Music fraudulently claimed that a short Youtube clip of a toddler dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" was a copyright infringement, leading to eight years of litigation and, eventually, a landmark ruling secured by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which the court found that Universal had a duty to consider fair use before using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to censor other peoples' media.
Universal is a slow learner.
When Prince died, thousands of his fans gathered in his hometown of Minneapolis to sing "Purple Rain"; Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Aaron Lavinsky recorded a video of that moving tribute and uploaded it to Twitter, where it has racked up more than 500,000 views.
Years later -- and after having lost the landmark "Dancing Baby" case so very comprehensively -- Stupid Universal has sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act complaint to Twitter, getting Lavinsky's video censored.
After negative publicity, Universal apparently decided that it didn't want to waste another eight years finding out how totally wrong it was, and withdrew the complaint.
As the post above notes, the government's own website at the Copyright Office stipulates that news items are protected by Fair Use. Make no mistake, Universal is aware of all of this. It is in possession of the full scope and knowledge not just of Fair Use, but of how that law might apply to videos involving Prince songs. Again, this DMCA takedown comes as the ink has barely dried on Universal's dancing baby settlement.
Whatever the hell Universal's legal team was thinking, it seems likely that the Singing Crowd dispute will be the sequel to the Dancing Baby dispute. What a time to be alive.
Universal Right Back At It Issuing A DMCA For A Reporter's Video Of Prince Fans Singing 'Purple Rain' [Timothy Geigner/Techdirt]