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Mom Sues Music Company Over Baby Video Removal 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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Mom Sues Music Company Over Baby Video Removal

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  • Prince? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kihjin ( 866070 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:00AM (#21137163)
    Printable version: []

    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.
  • by TheWart ( 700842 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:15AM (#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 :)
  • by Charles Dodgeson ( 248492 ) * <> on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:16AM (#21137265) Homepage Journal
    My nine year old daughter made a video of our dogs playing [] 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.

  • by ( 1108067 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:22AM (#21137313) Homepage Journal

    >"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!!!)

  • by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:33AM (#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.
  • by DuckWizard ( 744428 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:38AM (#21137415) Homepage

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @12:47AM (#21137467)
    Three words:

    Small man's syndrome.
  • I say, (Score:3, Funny)

    by jon287 ( 977520 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @01:23AM (#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.
  • by krazytekn0 ( 1069802 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @01:47AM (#21137769) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @02:40AM (#21137947)
    i just added you to the list of people i'm smarter than.

    don't feel TOO bad, it's a pretty long list.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:11AM (#21138247)
    You can't do that! We're going to sue your ass and your balls!
  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:13AM (#21138255)
    My favourite description of Prince read simply "Probably a reincarnation of one of Jimi Hendrix's pubic hairs".
  • by reclusivemonkey ( 703154 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:22AM (#21138275)
    Maybe we should coin a new phrase. Rather than "Ambulance Chasers" we could have "YouTube Trawlers"?
  • by mindwanderer ( 1169521 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:29AM (#21138303)
    And invoke the wrath of the caffeine-pumped hardcore gamer community? Nah, lets go after the babies instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @04:58AM (#21138443)
    Doesn't the guy have better things to do with his time than to send takedown notices for 29-second video clips?

    The most media-visible response here should be 10,000 short home videos posted on youtube by slashdot patrons, all featuring the the same soundtrack as Lenz' video clip.

    Come on, we could do it with CSS code on t-shirts. Let's put up a few video clips.
  • by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @06:30AM (#21138777)
    All your culture are belong to us
  • by whyde ( 123448 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:39AM (#21139579)
    Now explain to me how it is possible that the first two recommended videos that show up after this is done playing are:

    * Sexy Blonde Shows Off Her Oral Talents.

    And no, I'm not making this up.
  • by Smauler ( 915644 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:51AM (#21139653)

    You wouldn't steal a handbag. You wouldn't steal a car. You wouldn't steal a baby. You wouldn't shoot a policeman... and then steal his helmet. You wouldn't go to the toilet in his helmet... and then send it to the policeman's grieving widow... and then steal it again! Downloading films is stealing. If you do it, you will face the consequences.

  • by ( 1108067 ) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:30PM (#21144165) Homepage Journal

    As some other people have pointed out elsewhere in this thread, Prince didn't release it for free - the newspaper bought the copies and gave them to their subscribers as a promotional stunt.

    He doesn't need help to look bad - just look at what Kevin Smith [] has to say about Prince (and he can say it because he forgot to sign the NDA).

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong