Judge Dismisses DMCA-Abuse Lawsuit Over Video Of Baby Dancing To Prince

from the too-bad dept

Last summer, we wrote about the EFF suing Universal Music for sending a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube over a 30-second home video of a baby dancing to some barely audible music by Prince. The EFF claimed that this was an abuse of the DMCA, as the use of the music was clearly fair use. Unfortunately, though, a judge has dismissed the case (update: to be more specific, he dismissed portions with leave to amend), arguing that the EFF did not make a case as to why this was self-evident fair use, and noting differences compared to other abuses of the DMCA. The EFF had also asked for a clear ruling stating that the video did not infringe on Universal’s copyright, but the judge declined to do so, noting that Universal Music hasn’t indicated any plans to actually sue (it just sent the takedown notice). The EFF has already refiled a new complaint to make the claims clearer, but so far, this case hasn’t gone all that well. However, the video itself is back online:

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Companies: eff, universal music

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Comments on “Judge Dismisses DMCA-Abuse Lawsuit Over Video Of Baby Dancing To Prince”

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Gertie says:


This lawsuit business is so stupid it defies logic. For one, if you told me the name of the song I still couldn’t tell it is that song. I don’t know how anyone else knows. For another this is obviously just someone’s home video for cry-eye. If there are people with the record companies and in the law offices seriously with so little to do as to have time to play around with this…..sad. Just sad. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter. No actual humans give a ratz patootie about your lawsuit, and you’re wasting your life and the time of every judge, court clert, and news reporter involved in this entire sad incident.

Onni (user link) says:

I think Universal made a very interesting comment in the case regarding fair use:

“Whether a use does or does not amount to a fair use is never ‘self-evident,’ but is reached only after a defendant first affirmatively pleads it and then proves it after an intense equitable balancing of multiple factors.”

People say the exercise of fair use rights is not supposed to require the permission of rights holders, but according to this statement, Universal basically tells us they can ultimately require that we get their permission any time we exercise these rights just by dragging us into court, or emailing a takedown notice leaving us no recourse but to sue them in court, where we must then affirmatively defend our rights against them. I suppose that could be the way it is, but that doesn’t mean there is no such thing as self-evident fair use. Aside from the factors Universal mentioned, the law also explicitly lists a number of specific uses which are “not an infringement of copyright.” I think those count as self-evident.

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