Universal Retracts DMCA On Journalist Video Of Prince Fans Singing Purple Rain
from the that-was-quick dept
Well, that was quick. We had just been talking about Universal’s insane decision to DMCA a journalist’s video of Prince fans singing Purple Rain shortly after his death, made particularly strange as it occurred in the wake of it settling the Dancing Baby DMCA case to avoid being punished for not considering Fair Use. That retreat from a decision which would have provided precedent for whether issuing a DMCA without giving even a modicum of thought to whether Fair Use would apply was irritating to many of us for a number of reasons, but primarily because it would give room for bad actors to DMCA away without the assurance of consequence. For Universal to provide an example of that itself, and to do so immediately after the Dancing Baby case was settled, was particularly frustrating.
But, again, it seems we won’t get clarity on the point. Universal appears to have realized how bad this all looked, and could get, and has retracted its takedown claim.
Update: Prince faithful can rejoice — UMPG has retracted their DCMA takedown of my video and it has reappeared in the original tweet. PURPLE RAIN, PURPLE RAIN! https://t.co/CUANM92ppv
— Aaron Lavinsky (@ADLavinsky) July 27, 2018
Now, is it ultimately good that Universal backed off this DMCA claim? Of course it is. But it should be obvious that the problem remains that it, and others, can peel off DMCA notices, including on journalists, without real fear of reprisal from the courts and simply run away when there is enough public backlash to warrant it. Again, a key here is that this DMCA notice issued by Universal was against a video that is as blatantly Fair Use as it gets. But Universal will bear no consequence for it.
When the reductio ad absurdum has become the real-life example, it’s probably time we had some real codified rules and punishments for this kind of behavior.