In a case that proves no one is safe from over-zealous copyright enforcement, EFF is helping Harvard Law School Professor Larry Lessig defend fair use online.
As a co-founder of the nonprofit Creative Commons and author of numerous books on law and technology, Lessig has played a pivotal role in shaping the debate about copyright in the digital age. This time he's got a new role to play, defending his own fair use rights.
The story of this case began when Professor Lessig posted a public lecture—titled “Open”—to YouTube. The lecture included some short clips of amateur dance videos set to the song “Lisztomania” by the French band Phoenix. In a classic example of fair use, the clips were used to highlight emerging styles of cultural communication on the Internet.
After Liberation Music sent a takedown notice accused Lessig of violating copyright law, YouTube took the video offline. When Lessig filed a counter-notice asserting fair use, Liberation Music responded by threatening to sue him in federal court. With the support of EFF and Jones Day LLP, Professor Lessig is asking federal judge in Massachusetts to rule that the video is lawful fair use, to stop Liberation Music from making further legal threats, and to award damages.