Wick Communications

Prince ‘crazy’ to press this one

In Media law on September 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

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Has anyone ever asked you to take down something from your website by claiming copyright to the material? Then pay attention. This involves a dancing baby, a barely audible YouTube video and Prince. Yes, that Prince.

This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals settled an important point of law in a ruling on the case. It requires anyone issuing a “takedown notice” consider the concept of fair use before telling YouTube (or the Montrose Daily Press for that matter) to take something off the Web.

In 2007, a woman named Stephanie Lenz thought it would be cute to post this video of her child dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” Prince’s lawyers must have good ears, because I can’t even make out the song. Nevertheless, one of the world’s great entertainers wanted to assert the principle that he controls his art. It’s understandable, in a way. He can’t selectively enforce his copyright claims. So he asked YouTube to take down the video. YouTube did that. Until Lenz claimed fair use and sued Universal Music Corp. for misrepresenting a Digital Millennium Copyright Act claim.

This week, the appellate court ruled in Lenz’ favor. She and her now pre-teen are free to go crazy.

It’s interesting, isn’t it? …

Incidentally, by attempting to quash what he felt to be illegal use of his art, Prince ran slap into the Streisand Effect, upon which I languished a couple weeks back. More than 1.7 million people have watched Lenz’ dancing baby now. How many people – besides grandma – do you suppose would have seen the bad video with 20 seconds of Prince music if he’d just let it go? It’s crazy.

Clay

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