Universal Retracts DMCA On Journalist Video Of Prince Fans Singing Purple Rain

from the that-was-quick dept

Well, that was quick. We had just been talking about Universal's insane decision to DMCA a journalist's video of Prince fans singing Purple Rain shortly after his death, made particularly strange as it occurred in the wake of it settling the Dancing Baby DMCA case to avoid being punished for not considering Fair Use. That retreat from a decision which would have provided precedent for whether issuing a DMCA without giving even a modicum of thought to whether Fair Use would apply was irritating to many of us for a number of reasons, but primarily because it would give room for bad actors to DMCA away without the assurance of consequence. For Universal to provide an example of that itself, and to do so immediately after the Dancing Baby case was settled, was particularly frustrating.

But, again, it seems we won't get clarity on the point. Universal appears to have realized how bad this all looked, and could get, and has retracted its takedown claim.

Now, is it ultimately good that Universal backed off this DMCA claim? Of course it is. But it should be obvious that the problem remains that it, and others, can peel off DMCA notices, including on journalists, without real fear of reprisal from the courts and simply run away when there is enough public backlash to warrant it. Again, a key here is that this DMCA notice issued by Universal was against a video that is as blatantly Fair Use as it gets. But Universal will bear no consequence for it.

When the reductio ad absurdum has become the real-life example, it's probably time we had some real codified rules and punishments for this kind of behavior.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Aug 2018 @ 3:55pm

    Lawyers are gonna do 'what's in the best interest of their clients' to protect their income... even if doing so flagrantly harms their client.

    UMPG really needs to start firing the people who cause these sorts of things, I betcha they would get much better lawyers in the end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2018 @ 11:49pm

      Re:

      Lawyers are gonna do 'what's in the best interest of their clients' to protect their income... even if doing so flagrantly harms their client

      See also: the various examples of "We have to be trademark bullies or we'll lose our trademark!!1"

      That always smells of dollar-sign-eyed lawyer to me

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark, 1 Aug 2018 @ 5:12pm

    I have the perfect punishment for bogus DMCA, patent, trademark actions... lose the dispute (or drop it), lose the copyright/patent/trademark.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Aug 2018 @ 7:03pm

      Re:

      First problem that comes to mind is that going to court is expensive, and while being found to have abused a copyright resulting in it's revocation would make for a fitting punishment tying it to the case itself would merely make it so that companies would dump piles of money in in an attempt to bury the other side in legal fees and force a settlement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2018 @ 5:28am

        Re: Re:

        First step - Fair Use needs to be more than just a defense against infringement.

        Then, instead of Notice and Take-Down, it should be a notice that indicates belief of infringement, and allows for a counter-notice before any action is taken.

        Notices that fail to meet specific requirements (such as specifying the infringement) result in a fine or other penalty.

        Counter-notices are subject to similar requirements, but once a counter-notice is issued, the copyright claimer has to pursue the issue further.

        And if it goes to court, SLAPP applies.

        Which thus requires federal level SLAPP. But yeah.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2018 @ 5:30pm

    The lawyers still got paid.

    First for filing it. Then for retracting it. So why not? Sounds like a pretty sweet racket to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 1 Aug 2018 @ 6:06pm

    Need Bogus DMCAs for supreme court opinions

    Where's Alex Jones of InfoWars when you need him??? He would be the perfect person to DMCA supreme court material.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 1:30am

      Re: Need Bogus DMCAs for supreme court opinions

      Too busy whining that his privileges for posting on someone else's private website were temporarily revoked, last I saw.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2018 @ 7:25am

        Posting on a "private web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

        any more than is reading it.

        Too busy whining that his privileges for posting on someone else's private website were temporarily revoked, last I saw.

        1) What does "private" even mean when published and invites entire world?

        2) WHO owns a "web-site", anyway? Like physical business, if allow The Public in, then have CEDED some right to "private property". The Public gains, NOT loses. That's the deal.

        3) Where is this "corporation"? Show it to me. And UNDER WHAT PRIVILEGE AND RULES is it even allowed to exist? -- By The Public giving it permission, and NOT for the gain of a few, but for PUBLIC USE.

        4) Again, mere statute doesn't over-ride The Public's Constitutional Right. And no, corporations are NOT persons, do not have rights, they are FICTIONS.

        5) The Public's use is the PURPOSE of any and every web-site. If allows comments, then it's governed only by common law terms: no arbitrary exclusion. Two-way communications is the purpose of teh internets.

        "PaulT" is a corporatist like Masnick, claiming fictions have rights over "natural" persons, trying to exactly REVERSE the benefits of the internets: take away from The Public and empower the few with corporations.


        Thanks, "PaulT" for actually stating something rather than your usual ad hom! Whenever you cloppers actually state a point, it's easily refuted.

        I've added this to boiler-plate on CDA 230 for future use.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 7:56am

          Re: Posting on a "private web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

          Awww... did I hurt your crybaby hero? Anyway, to answer your questions, since I'm sure you think you're being clever somewhere:

          "1) What does "private" even mean when published and invites entire world?"

          Same it does with any other private entity. Just because your local supermarket is technically open to anywhere who wishes to step foot inside, that doesn't mean they can't bar people, so long as if by doing so they don't break any other law. "open to the public" does not mean "we have no control over who uses it"

          "2) WHO owns a "web-site", anyway?"

          Define "website". The domain is owned by whoever the whois/ICANN says it it. The servers may be rented or owned. The code may be open source or proprietary. The content by others. But, generally speaking, if Facebook own and operate servers that run code owned and operated by Facebook, it belongs to Facebook.

          "if allow The Public in, then have CEDED some right to "private property""

          But not ALL of it. It's like the restaurant who decided to kick out the moron in chief's mouthpiece recently. The public had the right to enter, the restaurant retained the right to refuse under certain circumstances. He chose to kick someone out, even if she was a member of the public at the time, and still has that right.

          *Especially* if that person owns and operates another restaurant, which in this case Jones has his own property to shout from if he wishes. He just can't force anyone else to let him, unless they work for the government.

          "3) Where is this "corporation"?"

          Wherever it's incorporated.

          "4) Again, mere statute doesn't over-ride The Public's Constitutional Right"

          If you're referring to the first amendment, that refers to restrictions on what the government can do to block your speech. It does not compel whichever random piece of private property you decide to step on to allow you that speech. It means you can't be barred from the town square for standing on your soapbox, not that someone has to allow you to stand on their front porch.

          "And no, corporations are NOT persons, do not have rights, they are FICTIONS."

          LEGAL fictions, and US law says they have the same right to speech as individuals at the moment. I'll agree with you that this is dumb, but it's also literally what right-wing idiots demanded because they hated Clinton, now they're whining because it applies equally to others.

          Please, lobby to get this right to be removed from fictional legal entities, but until you manage that, this is how it works.

          "5) The Public's use is the PURPOSE of any and every web-site"

          No, it's really not. You might be getting confused because you insist on trolling a website that doesn't block members of the public, but there are a great many that reserve the right to entry or block entire countries because they want to.

          By the way, all of this is hilarious, given that Alex Jones himself owns a company that gives him corporate rights. He just wants to use other peoples' websites to spew his bullshit because he knows they have a bigger audience.

          "I've added this to boiler-plate on CDA 230 for future use."

          The posts where you whine against the public's right to public domain material as much as you demand their right to private property here?

          I'll remember this post too, and remember that you're all for the public's right to use private property as they wish.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2018 @ 8:53am

          Re:

          out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Christenson, 2 Aug 2018 @ 9:09am

          Re: Posting on a "private web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

          Umm, you ought to try to see the internal website of my employer...it's a website and it's *very* private! Employees only!

          As to the rest, well, it's supposed to hit the funny bone!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2018 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Posting on a "private web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

          You have no idea what common law is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 7:03am

    So, is the reporter counter suing Universal for future protection and damages? I"d love to see this clearly settled. If there's a donation drive for that count me in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 8:21am

    When the reductio ad absurdum has become the real-life example,

    What does that even mean? Because this case has nothing to do with the principle of reductio ad absurdum, which is a logical technique to prove that something must be false by demonstrating that if it were true, an absurdity (logical contradiction) would occur.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 2 Aug 2018 @ 9:04am

      Re: Reductio Ad absurdum

      Umm, it seems we have a proof there's a problem with something by creation of an absurd example!

      That is, reductio ad absurdum is no longer just a logical technique in a proof, it's playing out in real life, too!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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