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 One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2017 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't say infringement didn't happen, all I pointed out that the fact that the DMCA claim might not be as 'effective' as some may want it to be at combating infringement isn't really of concern to anyone but them. They can run around trying to stamp out something that will never be stamped out, or they can save their time and energy and change tactics such they can ignore the majority of copyright infringement as not a big deal.

    Infringement happens, and so long as it's not commercial, which I imagine the vast majority isn't, I'm not going to get overly concerned that it happens, especially when I see the people trying to 'combat' it using and abusing tools that cause significant 'collateral damage'.

    As for 'aren't enforced very often', that's complete and total crap. With the exception of one case where it was a default judgment the worst that typically happens is a slap on the wrist and a 'And don't let me catch you doing it again' I'm not aware of any cases where any real penalty was handed out for filing a bogus DMCA claim. If you have any examples that are even remotely in the ballpark of what people face thanks to bogus DMCA claims(removal of speech being the low end of things) then by all means, share them.

    On the other hand, you don't have to look very far at all to find example after example, after example, after example, after example, after example, after example of abuse of the law and accusations of infringement that results in perfectly legal content being taken down and/or people having to defend perfectly legal content because again, there is no penalty for filing bogus copyright claims, whereas the law is very much stacked against those on the receiving end of them.

    It seems to me that you don't like copyright and you don't care. I'm 99% sure Mike agrees--but, of course, he won't just say it. Kudos to you.

    Ah the good old lies and strawman, because nothing says "Take me seriously" like making blanket assumptions on the other person's position and then claiming that they're too dishonest to admit it should their actual position not match what you claimed they were.


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