by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 11th 2008 12:14pm
Over the summer, there was a flurry of press coverage over the fact that, with the help of the EFF, a mother was suing Universal Music for forcing a short video she had made offline. The 29-second video was of her kid dancing to some Prince music that was playing in the background. We were a bit surprised by this, due to plenty of stories around that time about how Prince really "got" the internet. We had thought that maybe this was just a move by Universal Music, rather than having anything to do with Prince himself. Since then, of course, Prince has been much more aggressive in forcing fan sites to take down content -- though, it still seems pretty clear that the original video was fair use. You would think that all of the negative publicity surrounding that case would have made it over to the UK, but apparently not. The Agitator points us to a story that Prince's representatives have forced a UK taxi driver to take some videos off of YouTube. The taxi driver had filmed a few short videos while he was driving his cab and uploaded them to YouTube. During at least one of the videos, there was some Prince music playing in the background on the cab's radio. And, that, apparently, is enough for Prince's representatives to claim copyright infringement and get the video taken offline. Can anyone explain how a short clip like this, with the music playing on the radio in the background on an amateur film with no commercial connection at all, is not fair use? But, more importantly, can anyone explain how (even if it is Prince's right), this makes sense for Prince? He's clearly not losing any money from this video being online. The only thing that might happen is more people hear that song and perhaps get them interested in Prince's music.
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