California Court Supports “Fair Use” of Copyrighted Media in Online Posts

/ 3 years ago


Since 2008, when she received a “takedown” notice from Universal regarding a video that she posted on YouTube, a Pennsylvania mom named Stephanie Lenz has been involved in a lengthy legal war that still has no clear end in sight. However, things have taken a turn for the better recently, as a California court has ruled that copyright holders should not rush to send these so-called “takedown” letters before they take a closer look at the situation. The 29-second video in question was posted in 2007 and showed a toddler learning to walk while the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” was playing in the background.

Lenz believes that the video was harmless and that her case shows exactly how much the industry can abuse the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Apart from Lenz and her legal team, it looks like Tumblr, Twitter and Google share the same opinion, but Universal’s attorneys still insist that the company had a legal right to send the letter to Stephanie. In any case, the industry will now be forced to take a more careful approach to analyzing copyright issues before it acts.

During a 2008 interview, Stephanie Lenz has stated the following:

“Somebody needs to tell these music companies they can’t just throw out these (takedown letters) and accuse people of violating federal crimes. I didn’t like feeling like I’d done something wrong, even though I knew I hadn’t. It made me panic.”

If you ask me, a 29-second video of a dancing toddler is indeed harmless, and issuing a takedown notice for it seems petty and uncalled for. What do you think?

Thank you MercuryNews for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Digitaltrends.


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