EFF Gives Prince A 'Lifetime Aggrievement Award' For DMCA Takedown Abuse

from the raspberry-beret-awards dept

The EFF has inducted singer Prince into its "Takedown Hall of Shame" by giving the purple one the "Raspberry Beret Lifetime Aggrievement Award" for his consistent and neverending abuse of the DMCA process to take down content he has no right to takedown. In giving him the award, they list out three examples we've spoken about before:
  1. Prince's recent DMCA takedown on six second clips on Vine of a Prince concert at SXSW. These clips were clearly fair use -- showing tiny snippets where the music isn't even recognizable.
  2. Prince's DMCA takedowns sent over fan-recorded concert videos of his performance of Radiohead's song "Creep." As EFF points out, Prince has no real copyright claim here. The copyright of the song is Radiohead's -- and Radiohead demanded that the videos be put back online -- and the copyright on the video is whoever took the videos. But that didn't stop Prince.
  3. Of course, no surprise here, Prince's connection to the infamous YouTube takedown of Stephanie Lenz's 29-second video of her toddler dancing to a Prince song in her kitchen. The lawsuit over that one is still going on. That one might actually be more about Universal Music than Prince, but given his other takedown actions, it would be surprising if he didn't support Universal on that one (even if he's had other disagreements with the label).
Of course, if the EFF wanted, it could make the list even longer. Prince sent a cease & desist to an artist who put together a puppet-based tribute to the artist. He similarly threatened a bunch of fan websites, claiming that any photos of him or his album covers was infringement. Oh, and then there was the time he sued 50 musicians for having the temerity to record a tribute album to Prince for his birthday. Such a nice guy.
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Filed Under: dmca, dmca abuse, prince, raspberry beret, takedowns


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  1. identicon
    horse with no name, 9 May 2013 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Incorrect

    Specifically, the right to film was not granted with the ticket, and was specifically banned. Any filming done at the event would be in violation of that. Now, that would be contract law, but by direct extension, if the person recording did so illegally and without permission, they likely do not have ownership for purposes of copyright. If Prince pressed the case, ownership (and copyright, natch) would be his.

    Further, the show itself is a performance, and as such, that performance itself is copyright. The guy with the video would have to go a long way to show that he had permission to film and distribute the copyright performance. So while he may (for the moment) have copyright of the video itself, the content is copyright.

    Think of it like this: camming a movie at a movie theater doesn't instantly grant you copyright on the movie or the right to distribute it, even if you filmed it yourself. You at very best can claim copyright on your filming, but since the content is copyright to someone else, you can't get far. Live performances make it even more complicated, because not only is the song copyright in this case to Radiohead, but the performance of that song is copyright to Prince, and the show as a whole is as well, no different from a theatrical play.

    Copyright isn't a single, one way street. There are different players with different rights, and sometimes one trumps the other. Prince cannot claim copyright on the song Creep, but he can claim copyright on his performance of it.

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