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Mom fights music giant over DMCA takedown notice

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 19 Jul 2008 15:30 User comments (25)

Mom fights music giant over DMCA takedown notice For the Pennsylvania mother Stephanie Lenz, who has stood up to Universal Music Group after a YouTube video of her son dancing to a Prince song was taken down citing a DMCA violation, the case is gaining more and more attention and Lenz hopes her case at least brings attention to the users who have been bullied over the years by the labels and rich pop stars.
"I figure I have nothing to lose," Lenz said. "The music companies are just going to keep doing this to people. I think it's my responsibility to stand up to them and say, 'That's enough.' "

Lenz' lawsuit claims that Universal and Prince are "abusing" the DMCA and is asking for monetary damages. She is also asking that the court specifically state that she did not violate Universal's copyrights with the YouTube video.

The DMCA takedown notice in question is just one of hundreds of thousands that the labels and studios send out each year to video sharing sites which forces the material to be temporarily removed unless the user decides to fight the decision in court.

Backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Lenz did take the request the court and maintains that the video was a harmless use of a once popular song and that the takedown notice is blatant abuse of the DMCA.

The case was almost dismissed but the EFF persuaded the judge to keep it alive while Lenz revised the complaint. The EFF says "that companies such as Universal have an obligation to investigate and evaluate a video such as Lenz's before firing off the threatening letters."

Lenz and the EFF believe the video is in "fair use" of the song but Universal believes the opposite and also feels it would "be unfair to artists and media companies to force them to undertake lengthy inquiries before asserting copyright violations."

"The copyright owner is arguing that this is infringing; Lenz says it is fair use,"
added Mark Lemley, director of Stanford University's Law, Science and Technology clinic. "There are no cases directly on this question of user-generated content that incorporates songs as background. Lenz will be the first."

For now, the video is back up on YouTube but Lenz is not satisfied.

"Somebody needs to tell these music companies they can't just throw out these (takedown letters) and accuse people of violating federal crimes,"
she added. "I didn't like feeling like I'd done something wrong, even though I knew I hadn't. It made me panic."

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25 user comments

119.7.2008 15:34

give me a f ing break. its youtube. If the b**** is going to sue companies for this, i hope she fails miserably. she probably doesnt give a crap about the whole video thing. she is probably just a greedy whore, like the rest of what this country is turning into.

219.7.2008 15:51

I honestly don't see this going very far.



319.7.2008 15:57

The video kept my attention for a whole 0 seconds!

419.7.2008 18:06

I don't really care what her motives are; the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

519.7.2008 18:23

If nobody challenges the media companies what will they do next? and next? and the time after that?

619.7.2008 18:39

greedy whore?your a pretty percecptive son of a bitch arent you? where does it say she is suing for monetary damages?learn to freaking read.she has every right to fight this.you,on the other hand,dont seem to know your ass from a hole in the ground.

719.7.2008 18:41

why did this all start ? because the hispanic dwarf formerly known as princess got his pierced nipplets in a tizzy over a kid dancing to one of his 20 year old songs ? sad - just totally sad.

819.7.2008 19:13
CamHera
Inactive

Originally posted by pwhite23:
give me a f ing break. its youtube. If the b**** is going to sue companies for this, i hope she fails miserably. she probably doesnt give a crap about the whole video thing. she is probably just a greedy whore, like the rest of what this country is turning into.
I can see you being upset, but theres no reason to call her that...
I think she has the right to stand up. No one else is doing it, and she doesn't want money. If her kid wants to dance to some music, then let him! The greedy people are those pop stars, and the people who are suing for money.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Jul 2008 @ 19:15

919.7.2008 19:23

Actually, she is seeking unspecified damages. Whether or not it's just for court costs is another story.

Since the EFF is helping her out, there's definitely some merit to her case.

1019.7.2008 22:50

Originally posted by pwhite23:
give me a f ing break. its youtube. If the b**** is going to sue companies for this, i hope she fails miserably. she probably doesnt give a crap about the whole video thing. she is probably just a greedy whore, like the rest of what this country is turning into.
So you think that the studios ought to be able to spam DMCA notices for every single posting, hoping someone won't notice that the use is "Fair Use", or perhaps the item doesn't even belong to them?

You think she's a whore? I think she's a hero.

1119.7.2008 23:16

good on her, at the rate the music industry is going it wont be long before people are handed fixed penalty fines if caught humming or whisteling their favorite tune in a public place.

i havnt seen the video but im assuming its an old prince song that nobody wants to buy now anyway so its not like she is allowing viewers to copy the track and in turn reduce its sales, and even if it were new videos ripped from youtube and converted sound like crap.

the whole thing is getting out of hand and they need to be stopped. technically you could be fined by these greedy gits for playing a cd while you have friends round, using the arguement that they didnt pay for a copy of the cd and therefore should not be listening to it.

1220.7.2008 0:10

WOW Prince's screen name is pwhite23 ?!

1320.7.2008 0:22

Originally posted by nonoitall:
I don't really care what her motives are; the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I heard that!!
Who cares if her fight is for her own personal monetary gain or if she is being greedy. The point is is that the record industry is even more petty because a song was playing in the background of the video.. I hope she wins!!

1420.7.2008 1:50

Originally posted by actech:
WOW Prince's screen name is pwhite23 ?!

LOL ROFL Good one :-).

1520.7.2008 13:35
blueroad
Inactive

Quote:
Originally posted by nonoitall:
I don't really care what her motives are; the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

I heard that!!
Who cares if her fight is for her own personal monetary gain or if she is being greedy. The point is is that the record industry is even more petty because a song was playing in the background of the video.. I hope she wins!!
i second that motion! its about time that someone counter-sues those A-holes spreading all those bullshit notes! (:P) all the time you hear either the BPI RIAA MPAA etc suing a site owner or a specific person. we even heard them basically saying that "they dont need no stinking proof" (to the people that follow piracy you know which article im reffering to).
and now they dont see the need to investigate every so called copyright violation?! about godamn time somebody leech back money from them! instead of calling her a greedy whore i call her a rising opportunist-tell me you wouldnt have gone on and sued a major company that keeps f*ing us all and claim a few millions that they anyway took from so called "pirates"? id call that heroism and vendetta at its finest . i pray for your success soccer mom not and i dont care what you do if you get millions ofem as long as they lose profit ill sleep better at night XD

1620.7.2008 15:32

You want to use music, write your own songs. If you create something unique, you don't want people to just take it and publish it without your permission, even if you're filthy rich.

1720.7.2008 15:33

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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jul 2008 @ 22:47

1820.7.2008 15:39

<DELETED>

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jul 2008 @ 22:48

1920.7.2008 17:50

Try it. Write a song, record it, publish it, establish yourself as an artist worldwide, so that the mere mention of your name (or the name of the song) guarantees thousands of hits for any stupid video. It's worth something, you know. Of course the owner tries hard to protect it.

2020.7.2008 18:39

Originally posted by actech:
WOW Prince's screen name is pwhite23 ?!
I think he now goes by the poster (or poser) formerly known as pwhite23.

:)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jul 2008 @ 18:40

2121.7.2008 8:00

Go Stephanie! Yeah, I agree with most, just give her monetary funds for the lawyer and court costs and a nice little apologetic letter...just so it can scanned and put on the net :P

even better...UMG should have the CEO put up a youtube vid apologizing to her...lol

yeah, i know...wishful thinking

2221.7.2008 12:31

Originally posted by nandriv:
Try it. Write a song, record it, publish it, establish yourself as an artist worldwide, so that the mere mention of your name (or the name of the song) guarantees thousands of hits for any stupid video. It's worth something, you know. Of course the owner tries hard to protect it.
Prince has the right to fight for how his intellectual property is displayed/heard, regardless if it's 2 years or 20 years old or how popular it is. The question is the method of takedown. If his actions are actually an abuse of the DMCA, then he should get a slap on the wrist. He should know and understand the tools that were provided for him to protect his work. Anyone who creates a song that is "worth" something should understand the laws that protect it, and be held accountable for using them correctly just as we are all accountable to follow them. Instead of throwing a hissy-fit, he should have thought more about the video in question and realized that it was fair use. And if he couldn't tell, then UMG should be able to with all of their 6-figure lawyers.

In short site, it's a stupid little video, that happens to have been put back up. Even if she is greedy and asks for some exhorbitant amount of compensation, good for her. She can help prevent large corporations from bullying people. The higher the settlement, the more reluctant these corporations and artists will be to smack people around.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 21 Jul 2008 @ 12:32

2329.7.2008 9:14

Yes, learn to read!

This was obviously the EFF's doing. You can't hire them, they call you if you have the right case. They must have talked the mom into fighting them. I respect their judgement. If you do not challage some of the most inane takedown notices they will continue to push the limits. The EFF keeps the ass-holes in check. I am truely thankful for what they do for all of us. I for one, am glad mom is fighting for my right to post myself dancing to Raffy in my underware. I think this is freedom of expression not a copywrite issue.

Oh, you all of you that can't read... what are the other stupid things the EFF is doing? They are getting the only P2P file sharing suit that went to court case over turned. That case will be going to the Supreme Court. If that gets over turned the media mafia will have to retreat.

2430.7.2008 2:13

Lookout ! The next thing on their cards might be that the music you have purchased is solely for your own entertainment. You can't play it when you have guests or can't play it in any environment which will allow any other person - who hasn't paid for it - to hear it !!

Unbelievable !!!

252.8.2008 13:52

she has my blessing

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