San Jose, CA - On Tuesday, October 16, at 3 p.m., the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal judge in San Jose, California to rule that Universal Music Corp. violated the law when it sent YouTube a takedown demand over a home movie of a toddler dancing to a Prince song.
Tuesday's oral argument is in Lenz v. Universal, a case that started back in 2007, when Stephanie Lenz first posted the video to share with family and friends. In the 29-second clip, Lenz's young son is dancing in the family kitchen to "Let's Go Crazy," which is playing on a stereo in the background. Remarkably, Universal Music Publishing Group claimed that the video violated copyright law, and had the video yanked from YouTube.
Lenz fought back with the help of EFF, filing a lawsuit asking the court to hold Universal accountable for YouTube to take down her fair use. In a key victory early in the case, the court held that content owners must consider fair use before sending copyright takedown notices.
In Tuesday's hearing, EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry will ask the court to grant Lenz's motion for summary judgment in this case and rule that Universal's takedown was improper and an abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
"Parents are allowed to document and share moments of their children's lives on a forum like YouTube, and they shouldn't have to worry if those moments happen to include some background music," said McSherry. "Content companies need to be held accountable when their heavy-handed tactics squash fair use rights. We hope the judge gives Ms. Lenz the closure she deserves, and shows content owners they can't trample over users' rights."
Lenz v. Universal
Tuesday, October 16
United States District Court, Northern District of California
Courtroom 3, 5th Floor
280 South 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95113
For the full background on Lenz v. Universal, including the most recent motions:
Electronic Frontier Foundation