Not Smart: Warner Music Issues DMCA Takedown On Larry Lessig Presentation

from the this-is-going-to-hurt dept

If there were anyone out there to whom you would not want to send a random takedown notice for an online video, it would probably be Larry Lessig. Given that Lessig has become the public face for those who feel that copyright has been stretched too far, as well as being a founder of Stanford's Fair Use Project, and who's written multiple books on these issues, you would think (just maybe) that any copyright holder would at least think twice before sending a DMCA takedown on a Larry Lessig presentation.

Apparently, you'd be wrong.

Lessig has announced that Warner Music issued a DMCA takedown on one of Lessig's own presentations, in which his use is almost certainly fair use. Lessig, of course, is a lawyer, and a big supporter of fair use, so it's no surprise that he's also said he's going to be fighting this.

The thing that I can't understand is who at Warner Music would decide this was a good idea? We've seen Warner make a number of highly questionable moves over the past six months, but this may be the most incomprehensible. Warner Music may claim it was an accident or that it didn't mean to send the takedown, but that's hard to fathom as well. The DMCA rules are pretty clear, that the filer needs to clearly own the content, and previously lawsuits have said they need to take fair use into account. I'm guessing we haven't heard the end of this yet...

Update: Some people have been asking which Lessig presentation was taken down. It's been reposted elsewhere, so you can check it out, and then explain how Warner Music has any claim to a takedown.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, fair use, larry lessig, takedown
Companies: warner music group


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  1. identicon
    John P, 30 Apr 2009 @ 8:31am

    A bug in the system.

    I watched the video being claimed to infringe copyright law. In my opinion, any rational human being, after watching the presentation, would not even consider the legal considerations under existing copyright law.

    The imagery, audio, and remixes used, poignantly depicted the realities of the artistry and culture spreading online today. Some of the examples were truly amazing pieces of work, which would have been impossible to create as little as a few years ago.

    This was obviously a social and political statement, using appropriate examples from existing culture ( and none in it's entirety), to reinforce the author's position, and facilitate the understanding of those viewing the statement.

    If this was an automated take down notice, then it clearly shows a flaw in the base coding of the detection system. There is absolutely NO method of determining the validity of use in an automated manner. If this was not an automated take down notice, it would indicate a more profound problem.

    Does a letter or notice from a lawyer have the force of law? Just receiving a letter claiming their belief in infringement does not constitute proof of infringement. Yet the receipt of such letters is followed by take down as if it were a court order stating proof of infringement requiring action. This makes no sense to me at all, except in the use of law as form of duress or extortion - clearly not what the principle of law is designed for.

    With obligatory IANAL, I presume no defence other than the viewing of this presentation would be required to convince any rational human being of the falsity of infringement claims. Unfortunately, rationality may be in in short supply these days.

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