Supreme Court Won't Hear Dancing Baby Case... Despite Gov't Admitting 'Serious Legal Error'

from the dancing-without-end dept

Sometimes I think purgatory must be filing a lawsuit over a wrongful DMCA takedown notice. I'm pretty sure that's how Stephanie Lenz feels. After all, she's been fighting against Universal Music issuing a bogus DMCA takedown against her dancing baby, and I'm pretty sure that "baby" will be graduating high school before too long. Last we'd checked in, the Supreme Court was debating hearing the appeal in the case, and had asked the White House to weigh in. The White House responded last month with a truly bizarre argument, agreeing that the 9th Circuit's ruling contained a "significant legal error" but said that this case was "not a suitable vehicle for correcting that mistake."

Whether it was for that reason or for no reason at all, the Supreme Court has now decided not to hear the appeal, meaning that the case is back (once again) in District Court, where it may actually go to trial to determine if Universal Music knew that the video was fair use when it issued the initial takedown.

As we've discussed time and time again, this particular case is an important one, if Section 512(f) of the DMCA -- the part that says you cannot file bogus DMCA takedowns -- is to have any teeth. The problem, right now is that there are piles upon piles of abusive DMCA takedowns, targeting all sorts of content that is perfectly legitimate and non-infringing. Yet, because there is basically no punishment for issuing such takedowns, they continue. Unfortunately, this particular case keeps coming out with "mixed bag" rulings that probably won't help very much in the long term. While we may have hoped that the Supreme Court would clear things up and make sure 512(f) actually does its job, it appears that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Filed Under: 512(f), copyright, dancing baby, dmca 512, fair use, scotus, stephanie lenz, supreme court
Companies: umg


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Jun 2017 @ 7:49pm

    The law is meant to only benefit corporations.
    Corporations can snap their fingers & make everyone else jump.
    Corporations can not make mistakes or suffer any consequences for doing so.
    Corporations can demand millions of dollars in damages, yet when they do what they charge others have done... its an oopsie.

    SCOTUS shouldn't have been in a position to try to fix a shitty law. Congress should get off of their collective asses and fix it. No amount of corporate "support" is supposed to sway them, but we all know how that goes.

    Its a video of a dancing baby, that every parent can identify with. The harm was caused by the law being lopsided. The corporations claim to be harmed for kajillions for every little mistake, yet their mistakes cause no harm at all.

    Fair Use isn't a defense, it is a right.
    Filing bogus takedowns and doubling down on them is supposed to be punishable as perjury, yet we have hundreds of millions of defective & wrong notices sent to a 3rd party search engine who hosts none of the content.
    Everyone else is paying for the corporations getting a law that threatens life ruining consequences for everyone else, yet free passes for them.

    We wonder why people have such little respect for copyright law. Its been twisted to protect 1 cartoon mouse costing us a public domain. 'Happy Birthday' was stolen from the public as a corporation took in untold millions they had no rights to. The estates of long dead authors kill books or new projects because they claim to have the rights for content made in the early 1900's.

    The public domain is a wasteland, because nothing new can be built on anything that came before without permission. Those who can give the permission often won't because it might not make them enough money, or fit with their ideal of what it should be. Instead they keep remaking the same old stories to maintain it under their control. Look at all of the compilation albums that recently flooded the market so they could keep copyrights on that music from slipping out of their fingers.

    SCOTUS should have heard this case because of the serious legal error & loudly told Congress to fix this shit. The baby in the video is grown now, the corporation will outlive the baby. Our laws shouldn't demand a multi-generational law suit to remind corporations the public has rights as well and not just limitations because the corporation faces no downside to trampling those rights.

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