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. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2017 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Not sure I follow you. The article is about the Court not granting cert, which Mike feels takes teeth out of 512(f). (The issue he presumably wanted addressed was whether an objective standard should be applied instead of a mere subjective one.)

    Mike says: "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."

    There are other problems with the DMCA, like the fact that it doesn't actually curb piracy very well, but Mike does not address it. I'm simply pointing that Mike identifies one thing as the "problem" while ignoring others--like the huge elephant in the room.

    Hey, I get it. The failure to curb piracy is not a "problem" for Mike. He just won't explicitly say that (which is a problem for me because I feel it's dishonest).

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