Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Court Makes It Tougher to Take Down Web Postings

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Court Makes It Tougher to Take Down Web Postings

Article excerpt

SAN JOSE, Calif. - For a Pennsylvania mom who has waged a closely watched Silicon Valley legal battle for nearly 10 years with the music industry, it appears, perhaps, her baby should have simply been allowed to dance to a Prince song on YouTube after all. A federal appeals court on Monday made it tougher for copyright holders such as the music industry or movie makers to secure so- called "takedown letters that quickly force Web providers, in this case YouTube, to take down material. The decision allows Stephanie Lenz to go to a jury with claims Universal Music violated her rights when they attempted to force her to take down a 29-second YouTube video of her toddler learning to walk to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy blaring in the background.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, over the objections of Universal and companies backing its position, insisted holders of such copyrights must make an effort to evaluate whether such a posting really tramples on copyright protections or is accepted "fair use of widely distributed work.

"Copyright holders cannot shirk their duty to consider - in good faith and prior to sending a takedown notification - whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use, 9th Circuit Judge Richard Tallman wrote for the court.

The so-called "dancing baby case, which has been unfolding in San Jose federal court since 2008, has been closely watched in the valley, where everyone from Google and Twitter to Hollywood has weighed in on the stakes. Universal has resisted, spending years trying to dismiss Lenz's lawsuit, which maintains the media giant and Prince are abusing an 18-year-old copyright law intended to curtail movie and music thievery on the Web. Lenz is seeking unspecified damages and a court finding that she did not violate Universal's copyrights with the YouTube video. …

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