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
    Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2009 @ 1:56am

    Re: No, this is a genius move by Time Warner

    In all likelihood this was an automated notice. Time Warner doesn't have to think twice about sending those things.
    Lawyers representing TW and other rights holders helped write the DMCA. The only way a rights holder can perjure themselves is if they claim ownership of content that they don't actually have the rights to.

    THERE IS NO PENALTY IF, BY "ACCIDENT", A TAKEDOWN NOTICE IS SENT TO SOMEONE ERRONEOUSLY. If Time Warner has the rights to the content that they CLAIM was used in Larry's presentation, there is no penalty for sending a takedown notice for something that is patently fair-use. They wouldn't even be in the wrong legally if said content wasn't actually in the presentation at all.

    The DMCA was written with the help of lawyers from rights holders and they made sure that there is zero liability on their part in cases such as this.

    That said, I am not a brilliant law professor, specializing in IP, from Stanford...I would be absolutely delighted if Lessig found some way to legally bitch slap those pricks (and somehow force them to go about the whole takedown procedure in a more restrained way).

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