Dancing Baby Video Case Moves Forward

Friday, December 13, 2013

The legal battle over a video of a dancing child and its alleged copyright infringement is heating up in federal court.


When, in February 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video of her toddler on YouTube, she included an audio clip from the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy.”


Common use of a recorded, copyrighted song is nothing new on the Internet, as countless individuals have done the same thing with their video content.


But Universal Music Group, which owns the rights to the hit tune from 1984, objected to Lenz’s action, and demanded she take down the video.


“I was really surprised and angry when I learned my video was removed,” Lenz told the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “Universal should not be using legal threats to try to prevent people from sharing home videos of their kids with family and friends.”


Lenz has been fighting the order for years with the help of EFF and attorneys from Keker & Van Nest LLP, which recently filed an opening brief on behalf of Lenz with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


EFF contends Lenz did not violate Universal’s copyright, saying her use of the song constituted “fair use,” which is protected under the First Amendment.


When Congress adopted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (pdf) (“DMCA”), it “didn’t intend to give copyright holders a broad power to make other people’s speech disappear, without robust protection against abuse,” EFF’s Corynne McSherry wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Dancing Baby Files Opening Brief in DMCA Abuse Appeal (by Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Lenz v. Universal (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

"Let's Go Crazy" #1 (YouTube)


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