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Mom Sues Music Company Over Baby Video Removal

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the they-thought-of-the-children dept.

The Courts 391

penguin_dance writes "A Pennsylvania mom is fighting back, suing Universal Music Publishing Group for having a home movie taken down off of YouTube. The movie, featuring her 18-month old bouncing to Prince's song, 'Let's Go Crazy,' was cited for removal by the Group for copyright infringement. Mom Stephanie Lenz was first afraid they'd come after her — then she got angry. She got YouTube to put the video back up, she's enlisted the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and she's filed a civil lawsuit (pdf). 'I thought even though I didn't do anything wrong that they might want to file some kind of suit against me, take my house, come after me. And I didn't like feeling afraid ... I didn't like feeling that I could get in trouble for something as simple as posting a home video for my friends and family to see.'"

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Don't fuck with the LAW !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137137)

Don't fuck with the LAW !! Stupid lady !!

Normally... (1)

js92647 (917218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137143)

there's something to be said about these type of stories.

But the only thing I can come up with is "ok". I don't get the significance... or is "I don't want to be sued so I'll sue first" some new tactic in digging an even deeper hole?

Re:Normally... (1)

said213 (72685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137387)

i haven't rtfaor anyhing, but wanted to let all of slashdot know that i wholeheartedly support the efforts of this "cindy sheehan." fight the flava.

Tag goodforher ! (5, Insightful)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137147)

Nothing is better than seeing the average person stand up to the injustice of big corporation.

Re:Tag goodforher ! (1)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137239)

Nothing is better than seeing the average person stand up to the injustice of big corporation.
What about a giant jumping castle. filled with money. notes only.

Re:Tag goodforher ! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137353)

She's not average. It's been my experience that moms are the toughest f*$king people on the planet, not to be trifled with.

This music group, may FSM have mercy on them... because she won't.

Re:Tag goodforher ! (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137371)

But more importantly, she has a child! Having a child makes you a saint and should protect you from the repercussions of doing anything wrong! It's not like she's one of those horrible, selfish non-breeding people using a copyrighted song in content she put online!

And see, that is the thing... youtube makes money off the site, because of the videos people put up to draw traffic to it. So this copyrighted song is being used for a commercial application. If she was posting this on her own non-commercial website, I doubt anyone would have cared.

Re:Tag goodforher ! (2)

scbysnx (837275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137577)

I agree with everything you said until that last phrase.. its pretty naive to "doubt anyone would have cared" that she put the music up. Also I would think this should reasonably fall under fair use, I don't know if it does legally but it would be a reasonable application for fair use

Two words... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137149)

fair use.

Re:Two words... (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137355)

Story should be tagged 'fairuse' too or possibly 'analogholeinaction'

Re:Two words... (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137385)

how about streisandeffect

After all, a LOT more people have seen it now.

Re:Two words... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137533)

Fair use is so 20th century. Now days we have tolerated use [slate.com] .

Re:Two words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137657)

Is it fair use for YouTube to make money without paying a fee to use the song?

I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (4, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137153)

FTFA:

A well-placed source directly involved in the situation confirmed to ABC News that Prince was directly involved in seeking the takedown of Lenz's video.

"This guy scours the Internet,'' the source said of the legendary artist, who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and wrote the word "Slave'" on his cheek until he won back the rights to his music from another publishing company.

"He's really intense about this stuff," the source said, adding that Lenz's video "happened to be one of many'' that artist apparently located online and demanded be taken down.

Doesn't the guy have better things to do with his time than to send takedown notices for 29-second video clips?

Hey, maybe he'll have to change his name again to avoid being known as the Bozo formerly known as Prince ...

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137181)

I'm inclined to have a bit of sympathy, sice it is Princes music. But 29 seconds? Never mind that just because Prince dissaproves doesn't mean Universal has the right to threaten the woman for something they have no rights to. (Or am I wrong in thinking that Prince is independant these days?).

bumper music and royalties (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137671)

There ain't any, none. Them harassing her is crap. Radio stations all over play 30 second and under bumper music clips for *free*. Been like that for a long long time. She got a 29 second clip, she can tell them to go pound sand. The judge will, too. I certainly hope they file notice with those bozo lawyer's bar association, she might have some serious damages coming and they could even be disbarred, because if IP law is their specialty, they will have known this in advance. She's gonna pwn them greedsters.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (0, Flamebait)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137199)

We are talking about a man who became a Jehovah's Witness.

I'm surprised that he learned to use a mouse.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (1)

KEnderK (1171753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137215)

mod parent up. very interesting.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (0, Flamebait)

Verte (1053342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137309)

Perhaps you are thinking of Mormons. My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, they don't have any problem with technology. [But yes, Prince is a Jehovah's Witness.]

whoosh! (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137325)

never mind.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137347)

he is more likely thinking of Amish or Mennonites... Mormons have no restrictions on using technology.

Using? (SCO)... (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137445)

More like AB-using...

Nope, just a joke, not a troll...

Paul B.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (5, Insightful)

deesine (722173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137203)

>Doesn't the guy have better things to do with his time than to send takedown notices for 29-second video clips?

I doubt it was Prince himself doing the searching. Prince is plenty rich enough that he is probably paying someone to do the searching.

Having worked for an online kids entertainment company, I can tell you that part of the job responsibility of the 2 full time lawyers was to scour the net looking for any and all references to their company name and images. Also, no surprise this company was owned by a Scientologist, with all upper management being part of the cult too.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137245)

I wonder what would happen if she took it down, modified it into a parodic form & then put it back up?

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (0, Flamebait)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137273)

> "I doubt it was Prince himself doing the searching."

I quoted the article, where it was confirmed that Prince himself was the one who was "scouring the internet" and found this particular video. Do you think that anyone else would be such a freak over it, even if it was their job?

I hear you about the scientologists (hey - its nice to be able to rag on scientology on slashdot again, since the "great comment deletion scandal" :-)

He's not what you'd call tall is he? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137467)

Three words:

Small man's syndrome.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (2, Interesting)

catalina (213767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137593)

Hmm - wasn't it just a few years ago that Prince had a major dustup with BMI (or whatever label), so that he could regain control of HIS music?

Yet the ABC story this morning seemed to indicate that BMI was responsible for the takedown notice. Is that because BMI still controls some of his older stuff?

And they interviewed some paid lackey, who was "scouring the internet". It wasn't clear that Prince was directly involved.

Re:I know Prince is a scary guy, but this .... (3, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137693)

It seems far more likely that BMI/Universal actually found the video and are using this tactic to create bad publicity for Prince (without him having done or said anything).

He wouldn't be the first artist/band who had a clause in their contract stating that his publisher could, without contacting him, send takedown requests or enter suit on his behalf, in his name, using his name for those purposes, and attributing the action initiation to him personally. There are actually numerous legal situations where, legally, one person sends letters, does some act, or whatever in the name of another person. Much like numerous business or legal letters never written or signed by the person who's "signature" appears at the bottom (yet still written as if that person personally wrote that letter) and in many cases, that person never reads the letter (which is instead read by their marketing and/or legal staff - and then signed in their name by that same staff or secretary).

It just seems really odd that after all this time, Prince is suddenly interested in tracking down his music online PERSONALLY for music that is "owned" by a record label he despises. I think from all he has said, he'd be thrilled with any of the stuff that the label still controls being out there wherever.

dated copyrights (4, Insightful)

Robocoastie (777066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137157)

". I didn't like feeling that I could get in trouble for something as simple as posting a home video for my friends and family to see.'"

It's an example of how outdated our copyright and patent system is in the digital age. They need to be modified to accept that people are going to make fan stuff with them and see it as free advertising for that matter.

Re:dated copyrights (2, Funny)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137769)

I don't know what you're talking about, The whole reason I use youtube is to steal music... Whenever I find a video with 15 seconds or more of a song that I want I blast it through my super hi tech sanyo speakers and record it with my phonograph. I once got a whole 2 1/2 minutes of the tv show 24 recorded off of some junior high girl's video. (I recorded that with my 8mm camera of course) I used to post on /. on parchment but it got really annoying since it covered the computer screen.

Prince? (5, Funny)

kihjin (866070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137163)

Printable version: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=3777651 [go.com]

A well-placed source directly involved in the situation confirmed to ABC News that Prince was directly involved in seeking the takedown of Lenz's video.

Anyone know how true is this? It seems like he might have better things to do... such as serving us pancakes.

Re:Prince? (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137773)

I think its someone trying to yet again instill a sense of doubt in the rest of us that real musicians think they're music is merely a product, and not a work of art. I seriously doubt Prince gives a shit.

Haven't RTFA... and honestly, I don't care to. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137177)

Something as innocuous as a family video being removed merely because of the presence of copyrighted audio? Where does it stop? Would Universal have let the video go if the music was only incidental? Be honest with yourself here; they wouldn't. It begs the question; how can the executives and lawyers responsible for perpetuating this fascist campaign possibly think that this fosters goodwill amongst the populace, let alone sleep with themselves at night?

Offense is the best defence? (-1, Troll)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137183)

To the Panicking Suing Lady:

You may (or may not) have a legally-legitimate case to sue about, but suing as a "pre-emptive strike" against potentially being sued yourself is pretty dumb.

1. Opens the basis for countersuit for a variety of reasons, including both the original "infringement", or even, ironically, a "frivolous lawsuit" countersuit from *AA. Sure, you will probably not be found liable. But they can afford to spend hundreds of thousands on lawyers, can you?

2. Attracts undue attention. How many of those videos removed from YouTube actually result in prosecution? Close to none, specifically because *AA employs such indiscriminate shotgun tactics at removing online material, and for the vast majority of cases they don't have enough evidence to sue. You just painted a big target on yourself saying "sue me" (whether you actually infringed copyright or not is frankly not that important to anyone concerned).

Talk to a lawyer before going head-over-heels suing someone like the *AA for taking your video off a site that doesn't even belong to you, ma-am. Have you been wronged? Yes. Are the people who took down your video total a-holes? Absolutely. Does that mean you can go right in and hold em up for cash? Not so quick. *AA's methods only work for themselves. Unlike the *AA, you do not have the money, expertise, or political connections to be able to pull something like that. You may be right, but you'll still get screwed, and you gotta be either very brave, very rich, or very stupid to do what you did. So which one it's gonna be?

Re:Offense is the best defence? (4, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137223)

> "Talk to a lawyer before going head-over-heels suing someone like the *AA for taking your video off a site that doesn't even belong to you, ma-am"

If you had bothered to read the article, or even the SUMMARY, you would have known that she did talk to a lawyer. > "Unlike the *AA, you do not have the money, expertise, or political connections to be able to pull something like that."

The EFF is doing the suing for her, because of the principles at stake. Not everything is about money.

If people held the **AAFIA's feet to the fire more often, maybe we would have fewer frivolous takedown notices, and a bit more respect all around.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (5, Informative)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137229)

To knee jerk reaction guy who didn't read the links:

1. She talked to a lawyer.
2. That lawyer is the EFF.
3. They're pretty experienced in this matter, and they intend to collect when she does.
4. Seeking a declaratory judgment is a pretty reasonable thing to do.
5. Universal doesn't get to trample over fair use just because they're a big company.
6. A company that knowingly tramples your rights should pay a fine.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137589)

I know the EFF have good intentions, and do a great job of drawing people's attention to the crazy things that go on in the world, but they don't have a great history as far as winning in court goes. I honestly hope she doesn't land in a bigger hole, but my gut tells me she doesn't have much of a chance.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (3, Interesting)

Gailin (138488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137645)

EFF Victories [eff.org]

With their pretty long list of cases listed here [eff.org] perhaps you could go through and point out out the hundreds listed, which ones they lost. If they have a track record of losing, I'm sure it won't take long to point out a few dozen cases the lost out of the hundred+ listed. I'd love to be more informed, but I suspect you probably have a couple headlines stuck in your head and are overgeneralizing.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137751)

"I know the EFF have good intentions"

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I say lets chase this evil back to its home.

He won't play me on
radio cause they be on
Punk shit daily on
industry's a shady one -tech n9ne

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137689)

6. A company that knowingly tramples your rights should pay a fine.

Company should?

I think the individual initiating this action should be found, put on a podestal on NY Times Square and publicly shamed for 12 hours!

Corporation/Company eggheads in their cubicles won't change anytime soon otherwise - would they?

Re:Offense is the best defence? (5, Insightful)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137269)

You can have a suit filed against you anytime, it doesn't matter if you filed first. You can have a first suit filed against you without doing anything, or have a second suit or a counterclaim filed if you file first. Prince didn't sue her because she's got no money. What would be the point? In fact, you generally want to file suit first, you get to pick the venue. Is 9th circuit (CA) or 2nd Circuit (NY) is friendlier to fair use?

You can file a suit without even having a takedown notice. If you have reason to believe that someone will sue you for infringement, you can initiate a suit for declaratory judgment, where you get to pick the venue and circumstances.

She went to the EFF because they'll handle her case for free. Yeah, she's doing it to make a point, but the EFF can get legal fees out of the copyright holders if they win, and she may get damages. The RIAA may pay her off just to avoid setting a precedent that they'd have to live with for the next 50 years.

And yes, I am an IP/patent attorney.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (3, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137313)

>"just to avoid setting a precedent that they'd have to live with for the next 50 years."

Maybe she should try to copyright the precedent so it will last her lifetime + 50 (or whatever it is nowadays)

(for the humor-impaired ... its a JOKE!!!)

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137375)

She's probably going to lose if this goes to trial. The defense here against copyright infringment is fair use, and they will probably try to argue that it was in the category of a "significantly transformative" use. There's several factors to take into account when determining fair use, 1) the amount and nature of the portion taken, 2) the nature of the use, 3) the nature of the work and 4) the impairment of the copyright holder's ability to profit/control their work. see http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html [copyright.gov] for more info.

Without giving any actual legal advice on this case, I'd point out that the fact that she wasn't charging money for the video has NO effect. And the song itself wasn't changed or transformed, it was used to supplement a video work.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (2, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137441)

"I'd point out that the fact that she wasn't charging money for the video has NO effect"

The link you point to says otherwise:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature

...

3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole - in this case, a 29-second clip

4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. - in this case, none.

...

"incidental and fortuitous reproduction"

This whole thing is de minimus,or at least it shold have been, if Prince didn't spend his days surfing the net looking for such minor "infringements". And yes, the article makes it clear that it was Prince who found the clip, and who was the one pushing for the DMCA notice.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137757)

Last time I checked, music was audio and could not be seen with the eyes. Video is a visual medium that cannot be heard with the ears. A combination of the two senses certainly is transformative from the original. If the visual element was removed, would the video be as compelling?

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137429)

Maybe she should try to copyright the precedent so it will last her lifetime + 50

      Nahh, you can only patent those.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137411)

And yes, I am an IP/patent attorney.

Yeah, the nick does kinda blow your cover :-)

Re:Offense is the best defence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137349)

But they can afford to spend hundreds of thousands on lawyers, can you?
The woman's name being "Stephanie Lenz"..... can you say Chutzpah! ?

Yes, she can afford it.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (3, Interesting)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137463)

Does that mean you can go right in and hold em up for cash?

Actually, as a matter of fact, it does. Else the EFF wouldn't have taken the case. The EFF may not be perfect, but they damn sure aren't going around wasting cash.

P.S.: Seriously, RTFA.

Re:Offense is the best defence? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137625)

They waste cash all the time:

See: Blizzard Entertainment, Inc vs. BnetD Project

Inspiring... (4, Insightful)

PottedMeat (1158195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137189)

An American acting like one. You go girl!

Re:Inspiring... (2, Insightful)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137529)

Yeah, I kind-of hope this marks a turning point where common Americans get fed up with the crap we're being fed - not just by the *AA, but also by Bush, et al - and we stop taking it like prison bitches and fight back. That's the _true_ American way.

Re:Inspiring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137681)

Amen, brother.

Punk redefined? (-1, Offtopic)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137191)

FTA: "But he's getting a little bit more into punk now, so I'm trying to turn him on to Nirvana."

So, Nirvana is punk now? I must have missed the memo.

Re:Punk redefined? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137281)

"Grunge" (real, organic stuff... like original Nirvana, TAD, Mudhoney, Green River, etc - not the made-for-market Pearl Jam) was an outgrowth of American "Hard Core" punk - bands like Black Flag, Murphy's Law, DRI, et cetera. Nirvana often fancied themselves a punk band, and frankly, their first record (Bleach) especially, they were way more bad-ass than the likes of Greenday ever could be. They did later branch out and try other things, much the way that John Lydon did with Public Image Ltd. after the Sex Pistols, when he got into Dub and other things, or, more to the point, The Clash.

Re:Punk redefined? (2, Insightful)

jaypolka (1101133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137293)

Nirvana is closer to punk than what passes as punk these days.

Re:Punk redefined? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137417)

So, Nirvana is punk now?

To a mom that puts up videos to youtube of her kid writhing around to music, yes.

Uncorroborated claims newsworthy (5, Insightful)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137225)

FTA:

"File-sharing and illegally downloading of music has devastated a once-booming music industry. Some observers say the industry is just trying to protect itself."

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am of the opinion that this has never been proven conclusively and that what "has devastated a once-booming music industry" is the industry itself.

Also, for the grammar pedantic, should that be "illegal downloading of music"?

Time for another grammar rodeo! (1)

PFritz21 (766949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137423)

I believe "illegally downloading of music" is the correct term. Downloading is used the verb form, so the adverb "illegally" modifies and answers the "how?" of the action of downloading. The entire phrase is a noun. "X and Y has devastated..." where Y = "illegally downloading of music".

Re:Time for another grammar rodeo! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137569)

No, "illegally downloading music" would be correct, as would "illegal downloading of music". Illegally would modify downloading, but "of music" is not something you can download, thus "illegally downloading of music" is pretty hellaciously incorrect.

giddyup (1)

Ax of Ganto (1103807) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137631)

I disagree. I think "illegal downloading of music" or "illegally downloading music" would both be better. I might not go so far as to say that "illegally downloading of music" is wrong, it's just awkward. Like "quickly eating of cake". Or "eagerly partaking of pedantry". Works in some contexts, but not this one.

has devastated
Should be "have".

Still a copyright infringement (0, Flamebait)

Gabest (852807) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137241)

If you are blind.

She's going to lose. (0, Troll)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137253)

Sorry, but that's probably what's going to happen.

The fact is, that while it is indeed a derivative work, that is not fair use, and she did use a copyrighted work without authorization. We can argue over and over about whether that law is right, but it is what it is.

Her suing over that is colossally stupid and will likely just end in heartache.

I'm all for taking a rpincipled stand. But you need to make sure you're in the right.

(and because some moderators appear to be on crack based on their moderation of some previous comments, let me say that this is neither intended as a troll or flamebait)

Why would you say it's not fair use? (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137335)

The fact is, that while it is indeed a derivative work, that is not fair use, and she did use a copyrighted work without authorization.

True, the fact that the work is derivative doesn't mean it is a fair use of the original work. But I'm curious why you think her use of Prince's song in this particular video wouldn't withstand a fair use affirmative defense?

Re:Why would you say it's not fair use? (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137405)

Hmm. You know what, after looking a little further, maybe it could withstand a fair use defense. IANAL, so I am not certain. The noncommerciality, the fact that it's a short clip, and the fact that it's only ancilliary to the object of the clip, seem to bear that out. So I'll retract that part of my comment.

But I still think she's going to lose. That just seems to be how it's going with copyright law and the RIAA. The little person doesn't matter.

Re:Why would you say it's not fair use? (1)

mckyj57 (116386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137707)

But I still think she's going to lose. That just seems to be how it's going with copyright law and the RIAA. The little
person doesn't matter.


<sarcasm>
Well reasoned logic.
</sarcasm>

The little person does matter when they get a big voice. And this lady has one. And the big guys can't do whatever they want for fear of exactly something like this.

Universal and Prince can't win this suit; if they win they lose. If they lose they lose. So they will do everything in their power to settle. With the EFF being the adversary, it may not be possible, and this could cost them big time.

Too long to qualify as fair use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137521)

Fair use allows short clips. IANAExpert, but I think this clip is longer than the legal definition of "fair use". There may be other factors that exempt it, btu that's a big one. AMVs are not fair use, either. Fair use allows you to comment on the song itself--not to use it for your own purposes.

Re:She's going to lose. (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137401)

she did use a copyrighted work without authorization. We can argue over and over about whether that law is right, but it is what it is.

      It doesn't matter - it takes money to defend from lawsuits, and that is less money the publisher has to START lawsuits. It's her dime, but more people should be doing this.

      Also, the situation is ridiculous. OK yes if we stick to the letter of the law, it's not "fair use". But make sure you keep your car windows rolled up because if anyone hears the music you are playing from the sidewalk that's a "public performance" and you will owe royalties. Don't hum any catchy tunes, either. Copyright law is too vague and covers/prohibits too much. More sensible countries have a clause in there that specifically prohibits commercial gain and everything else is fine. Which is as it should be.

Re:She's going to lose. (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137421)

Oh, I quite agree. Copyright law is way too broad and applied way too much against things it really shouldn't be.

But I really don't hold out much hope of that changing anytime soon. The powerful people are too entrenched and many of the judges seem to favor the broadest interpretations of the law possible.

I'm only referring to the way things are, not as they should be. I'm a pragmatist. :-)

Re:She's going to lose. (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137571)

agreed, she made a far bigger mess of it than it should have been. what has my attention is that she says

I didn't like feeling that I could get in trouble for something as simple as posting a home video for my friends and family to see.'"
when she could have just as easily sent a copy to her friends/family privately she chose to post it on a public high volume internet video site like youtube that in all likliness will be seen by thousands of people at the least. it almost sounds like she way trying to grab herself a lot of attention from the whole thing when it wasn't at all necessary.

that sure is the way to earn some goodwill... (4, Funny)

TheWart (700842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137255)

I have to wonder who thought sending Youtube a take-down notice over this video would be a good idea. There are only a few things that almost all online viewers can find amusing or endearing, and one of them is babies doing cute things. The whole idea behind this is so ludicrous that you almost have to think someone sent it to expose the idiocy behind the methods used by the music labels...The only way this could have been a more boneheaded move from a PR standpoint would to have been asking someone to remove a video of a baby playing with a puppy and kitten while creating lolcat pictures while listening to music in the background.

Now, if someone wants to sue the mother for letting her young child dance to Prince, then I am all for that :)

Re:that sure is the way to earn some goodwill... (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137449)

I have to wonder who thought sending Youtube a take-down notice over this video would be a good idea.

According to the article, Prince apparently thought it was a good idea.

The way that article makes it sound, he's got a bug the size of his platform shoes up his ass about people using his (sub-par IMO) music in any way without his consent, in triplicate, written in the blood of someone taller than 4'3.

How to get permission (4, Funny)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137265)

My nine year old daughter made a video of our dogs playing [youtube.com] and wanted to add bits of the song "Dog Walk" by Scott Henderson to it. So being the obnoxious person I am and a great believer in "Civil Obedience" (strict compliance with stupid laws to help highly their stupidity), I said we need permission from the music publishers even if she just wanted to send the video to a few friends and relatives, much less put it on youtube. So I sent off the following email

My nine year old daughter wishes to add parts of

Song: Dog Walk
Artist: Scott Henderson

from the album "Dog Party" (Mesa records 1994)

in a short (two minute) home video of our dogs playing.

It is one of my daughter's favorite songs.

The video, probably as a Quick Time movie, will be distributed to maybe a dozen friends and family.

We would like to know whether we can get permission to use about 1 minute of the song this way, and how you would like to be credited if permission is granted.

Additionally, she may wish to upload the video to youtube. Please keep in mind that this is a first video made by a nine year old. It is far from professional. Would you grant permission for that as well? And if so, what additional conditions may apply.

I can send you a copy of the current draft of the video if you wish.

I am trying to teach my daughter to respect copyrights, and I hope that we can find a way to use the song in the home video in an reasonably convenient way while respecting your copyright.

If you have some established procedure for individuals making these kinds of requests, please let me know. I couldn't find anything on your website. Thank you.

This was sent by email on October 8, and I have received no reply. Next I will send a snail mail query.

All the while I am keeping my daughter informed of progress on this, so that when she grows to the point where she will be making choices regarding intellectual property, she will develop an appropriate respect for how the music publishers handle these things.

Re:How to get permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137369)

I'm quite sure that `no` respect would be appropriate in this scenario ... their massive legal teams seem to find trivial uses of music important enough to sue over for thousands of dollars, yet they don't provide the legal means for people to license their music for home/amateur videos. Hmm, there should be a law against double-standards. Maybe people could claim that the industries have a monopoly over a commodity (the music of a specific artist) and are using that to hurt consumers.

Re:How to get permission (2, Funny)

DuckWizard (744428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137415)

I had mod points this morning, but now they're gone. I want to mod you up, though. This seems like a profoundly good idea and a good way to educate your child about intellectual property laws. It's one thing to decide you want to shoot from the hip, use the music without permission, and hope your use will be covered by fair use; but it's quite another thing to teach your child (through your actions) that such is the way to proceed. So kudos to you.

Not that it's right for the companies to go around forcing takedowns of harmless uses of their copyrights, but it also says something that nobody even tries to secure permission before putting soundtracks in their youtube videos.

Re:How to get permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137471)

you are given the "right" to use any released song without needing "permission" by the copyright law. Of course, you have to pay out the royalties then for every view/download.:)

Re:How to get permission (0)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137587)

Why not send the same email with a disclaimer that their reading the email grants you consent automatically.

Then, add a delivery receipt and a read receipt to the email.

Fire off the email and wait 30 days. If they receive and read, but fail to respond, then you have their consent.

Re:How to get permission (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137663)

Nice plan. Do you have a blog on this? Others and I would love to check your progress on this. :)

Video Game Clips (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137271)

I have seen so many WoW pvp clips or boss fights on youtube that are accompanied by some song.

Why arent these forced down?

Re:Video Game Clips (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137365)

Because nobody has asked.

Legal Precedence? (1)

PFritz21 (766949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137361)

Maybe I'm missing the point of the mom filing suit, but to those of us who don't understand this legalese, could someone explain to me what right she had to use the song in the video?

Re:Legal Precedence? (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137697)

could someone explain to me what right she had to use the song in the video?

I have to suspect you as a troll, but since you phrased it so politely...

The song played in the backround. In Real Life. The baby danced to it. The whole sickening glurge-factor aside (I agree, "for the kids" has no more meaning for "us" than it does for "them"), "documentary" falls well within the bounds of "fair use". And even if it didn't, the scene still happened. You can argue with the law, you can't argue with reality.

So, what right does she have to the song? The same right you or I or anyone has to their own lives, to our own culture, and to hell with the law if someone can twist it to say otherwise. I can tell you my day sucked, and Hoover can go pound sand.

Re:Legal Precedence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137775)

The rights she obtained by being born, rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Read the freaking Constitution.

To paraphrase.... (5, Insightful)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137367)

"How can u upload my music?
How can u pirate my song? (Yeah *my* song!)
Maybe I'm just 2 demanding,
Maybe the clip's only 30 seconds long,
Maybe u're just that kid's mother
He's never satisfied (Now he likes Nevermind)
Why do we takedown each other?
This is what it sounds like
When suits fly."

Re:To paraphrase.... (1)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137641)

Good thing Prince probably doesn't read Slashdot, or you might get your own frivolous takedown notice.

Hey Universal (3, Funny)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137373)

My middle finger is waving at you. You got to be fucking kidding me. Don't you ass holes have something better to do? Like oh I don't know, publish better music? How many more company's am I NOT going to buy music CD's and DVD's from. But, just like normal you have to send bull shit take down notices for things that are clearly FAIR USE family videos. Get a FUCKING clue would you, because these 'take down notices' for irreverent things are getting way beyond old.

Listen, lady (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137393)

". I didn't like feeling that I could get in trouble for something as simple as posting a home video for my friends and family to see.'"

You didn't make a video for your friends and family, you freaking put it on YOUTUBE for the WHOLE PLANET. Sheesh. If all you wanted was for friends and family to see it, email it JUST TO THEM.

Go MOM! (3, Insightful)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137425)

Go MOM!

Weather or not this is covered under fair use, at least someone, even if its just a few, are firing back at the MAFIAA.

Even though this case might not matter, the PR from it might just wake up a few congress critters that just taking the money from the MIFIAA might not be a good idea to stay elected if enough angrey moms vote then out.

Re:Go MOM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137487)

Look out your window; that's the weather. The word you want is "whether".

bad cases make bad law (0)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137473)

Mom Stephanie Lenz was first afraid they'd come after her -- then she got angry. She got YouTube to put the video back up, she's enlisted the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and she's filed a civil lawsuit

which she is likely to lose even more certainly than Jammie Thomas [news.com] lost her case.

the copyright owner isn't going to know or care if you privately distribute a home video to a handful of friends and family members. but post the video to a site accessible to tens of millions and there is going be trouble.

this stretches the meaning of fair use beyond anything a judge is likely to find credible. there is a very real risk that fair use will be much more stringently defined if the EFF takes cases like these into court and loses.

Isn't (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137491)



Prince a coon? Or a product of miscegenation?

Wouldn't that explain a few things in this case?

niggerniggernigger

Sampling among musicians? (0)

superswede (729509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137507)

There must be a certain number of seconds or a fraction of a song that you legally can sample from without breaking the copyright laws. Anyone know the limits? Musicians are constantly sampling from other artist's songs.

Re:Sampling among musicians? (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137661)

I believe best practices for fair use is about 30 seconds, and going to Amazon and playing the 30 second samples of any album they sell would likely verify this. The YouTube video is about 29 seconds, so it should be pretty easy to argue fair use. (and what red-blooded judge is gonna watch a baby acting cute for 29 seconds and be able to find anything wrong?)

As for artist's sampling, usually either the original artist released the original expressly for the purpose of sampling (which happens a lot in hip-hop or whatever the kids are calling it), or they received permission, or they're paying a chunk to the original artist for the use of it. There's usually no free lunch there.

But ... (1)

KC1P (907742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137509)

... it *was* copyright violation. Plain and simple. This doesn't come close to fitting the criteria for fair use (a lot of /.ers think anything short of selling it for cash is "fair use" but that's not true at all, not by US law anyway). They didn't sue her, they didn't threaten her (she just assumed that part), they just made her stop distributing Prince's IP. She's totally wrong, she got off with a warning, and now *she's* complaining?

And worst of all, she thinks Nirvana is punk?!

Music for ears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137549)

What would be the scenario if she had bought the CD of the album having the song. She can listen to it anytime she pleases. If uploading the song to YouTube (for others to listen) would be a violation, so would blasting the song on BOSE speakers at her home so that the neighbours would listen in. Oh, itz Prince. Nobody gives a damn about him anyways. Enlighten me please.

 

Wouldn't this qualify as DERIVATIVE WORK? (1)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137591)

Hence she now owns the copyright to the derivative work. Fair use, indeed.

I say, (3, Funny)

jon287 (977520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137667)

She ought to write "slave" on one cheek and "owned by big biz" on the other until this is resolved. And maybe hang out around prince's multi-million dollar residence for a few days, collecting publicity photos. That should harsh his mellow a bit. Talk about hypocrisy!? WTF! This must be a new low.

Its still not her music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137705)

Even if she added her video to somebody else's music. Its fine for her to use it for her use, and show privately. Its not hers to distribute.

So while she shouldn't be sued for it, she's still not authorized to distribute it, whether or not its for profit.

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