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'Electric Slide' Creator Steps on Fair Use

PRESS RELEASE
March 1, 2007

EFF Lawsuit Battles Bogus Copyright Claims

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit today against the man who claims to have created the popular line dance "The Electric Slide," asking the court to protect the free speech rights of a videographer who captured a few steps of the dance in a documentary video he posted to the Internet.

EFF's client, Kyle Machulis, shot the video at a concert last month. In one ten-second segment, a group of fans in the audience attempts to dance part of the Electric Slide. Machulis later uploaded the video to YouTube. Within just a few days, Richard Silver, owner of www.the-electricslidedance.com, filed a takedown demand under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Silver claimed he owned the copyright to the Electric Slide and that Machulis' video infringed his rights. The removal appears to be part of a broad campaign by Silver to misuse copyright allegations to prevent dancers from performing the dance "incorrectly."

"Silver's claim of copyright infringement is absurd and is a classic example of the kind of DMCA abuse that can chill Internet speech," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Even if Silver had a valid copyright in the dance--which is not at all clear--this is a fair use and not infringing."

EFF's complaint asks that the judge immediately rule that the video does not infringe any copyright owned by Silver, and that Silver cease his meritless claims towards Machulis.

"We spend a lot of time fighting the misuse of copyright law on the Internet, but this situation is particularly outrageous," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "With thousands of videos being uploaded to sites like YouTube every day, free speech is on the line and needs to be protected."

For the full complaint:
http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/electricslide/complaint.pdf

Contacts:

Corynne McSherry
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
corynne@eff.org

Jason Schultz
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jason@eff.org

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