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The Courts Your Rights Online

EFF To Ask Judge To Rule That Universal Abused the DMCA 139

xSander writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal judge in San Jose, CA to rule that Universal abused the DMCA to take down a video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song. The case in question, whose oral argument will be Tuesday, October 16, is Stephanie Lenz vs. Universal, a case that began back in 2007. Lenz shared a video on YouTube of her son dancing to 'Let's Go Crazy' on a stereo in the background. After Universal took the video down, Lenz filed a suit with help of the EFF to hold Universal accountable for taking down her fair use. The court had already decided that content owners must consider fair use before sending copyright takedown notices."
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EFF To Ask Judge To Rule That Universal Abused the DMCA

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  • Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PieMasters ( 2751119 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @10:52AM (#41631345)
    Music industry is dinosaur who doesn't want to go forward with new models and the way people use the internet.
  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:02AM (#41631459) Journal

    If you actually think of yourself as having a 'personal brand', I'd say that existing is all the punishment you could ever require...

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:07AM (#41631521) Homepage Journal

    Where is the line between this "fair use" and using the song to promote your personal brand?

    That's what I want to know.

    Capturing incidental background music should be always or never illegal. I vote for never but whatever. These arbitrary standards only postpone a meaningful reckoning. Reckon that's the point...

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:16AM (#41631637)
    I think the idea is that the DMCA is supposedly only invoked in good faith, and that it would only be used in cases where their is a clear copyright violation. If this were the case, then I think most people would consider the DMCA a relatively fair and benign method of copyright protection. The problem is that it is not being used in good faith. Rather, it is being thrown at virtually everything to see what it sticks on, and it's so sticky it sticks to everything. So, to answer your question, I don't think it was intended (except, of course, by it's industry backers) to be used this way.
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:17AM (#41631645) Homepage Journal

    We need more of these trigger-happy infringement notice filers to be held accountable. I get the impression that at this point they feel they can do no wrong, and will just fire off a takedown notice with no thought to the consequences. They need to learn that we won't stand for their abuse of the system.

    Applying some of the teeth in the anti-abuse clause in the DMCA is the only way to change their attitude. These groups won't stop abusing the system until it starts affecting their bottom line.

    (of all the things I've seen the EFF do lately, this is the one that I appreciate the most)

  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:25AM (#41631759)

    Where is the line between this "fair use" and using the song to promote your personal brand? I think this particular case is better dealt with socially by embarassing the shit out of universal for being such tools.

    I'd rather see them go after the automated systems that are sending DMCA notices for things that are clearly NOT their IP in any way shape or form.

    Embarrassment only works when the subject has a sense of shame.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:32AM (#41631845) Homepage Journal

    But what harm came to the copyright holder? At worst it was $0. It might be negative harm since someone might have seen it and went and bought a prince album. Maybe it could of used the YouTube model and provide a link to buy the music.

    Sorry... it's asinine. It's using the copyright law as a sword instead of a shield. If you care about a tight interpretation of the Constitution it's pretty obvious that copyright is well beyond its stated intent. It's funny how strict constitutionalists change their tune when their corporate buddies are involved.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:36AM (#41631889)

    Always blaming shareholders is silly, and they are not "mandated by caselaw to push the envelope," any more than a dictator is mandated by natural law to kill any and all resistance. Why don't we just say that those particular people are dirtbags, and not diffuse the blame because "they are forced to do so."

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elbereth ( 58257 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:46AM (#41632057) Journal

    This whole problem could be resolved easily if the corporations had an automated system wherein people could license copyrighted works for use in personal, noncommercial videos (like YouTube). It wouldn't necessarily have to even cost any money, either. Simply collecting demographics would, I imagine, be valuable to the suits. If they wanted to be complete and utter assholes about it, they could charge 10 cents per license (or maybe have an unlimited subscription service for $5/month, so that you could use any of their hottest singles).

    As it stands, people have no way to ask for permission and thus resort to simply violating copyright. If they at least had the opportunity to follow the law, maybe there wouldn't be so much ill will toward the suits.

    This seems like quite a reasonable compromise to me.

  • Re:Unbelievable! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eyeball97 ( 816684 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:56AM (#41632203)

    You're forgetting the insanity in the UK, this stupidity has been going on for years, a lot longer than people realise. Take Kwik Fit (UK vehicle maintenance franchise) for example... []

    I was bemused as a kid, when they started all this shit. "Home taping is killing music". My arse. Yeah, I'm sure *I* killed the Bay City Rollers because I put them on a mixtape for my gf. Or mmmh, dontcha think maybe they just went out of fashion?

    Now, decades later the whine is louder than ever. Sad.

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Defenestrar ( 1773808 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:11PM (#41632423)
    I'd suggest a counter example to be duplicating a piece of art to hang on your own wall instead of buying one of the artist's prints. I'd personally view that as a non-commercial infringement which substantially violates a creator's right to pick their own business model.
  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:16PM (#41632481)

    It sounds to me like you are describing extortion since these cases are already legal and not in violation of copyright law.

  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hazah ( 807503 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:34PM (#41632703)
    That business model relies on law, not supply and demand, as such is broken to begin with. The violation is merely perceived, and is non-factual. But hey, why not have an inflated sense of entitlement. It's obviously serving humanity so well...
  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:59PM (#41633007)
    Fair use should be "I bought it, now I get to use it in any manner I damned well please"

    If I made a full blown music video using the song, according to the DMCA they'd have a right to take it down. If were waring Levi Jeans in that video, Levi wouldn't have any right to take it down. What the hell is the difference?
  • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:26PM (#41633309) Homepage

    which substantially violates a creator's right to pick their own business model

    There may be a right to pick your own business model, but there is no right which obligates anyone to make sure that business model succeeds. For example, my business model might be that I expect everyone else to pay me for the privilege of breathing. If so, I should expect that business model to fail. Other people breathing without my permission does not cause me any harm, so there is no legitimate basis for preventing it by force, and no one is going to voluntarily pay me for something they can do on their own for free.

    Like breathing, copyright infringement is an action which harms no one, and a business model predicated on expecting others to voluntarily pay you to make or share copies is just as obviously doomed to failure.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.