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'Dancing Baby' YouTube Copyright Case Finally Decided

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Over 8 years ago, in February 2007, proud Pennsylvania-based mother Stephanie Lenz posted one 29 second YouTube video that led to an 8 year long legal battle over copyright issues. The video in question showed her them 13 month old son happily dancing along to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy".

The video was innocent enough and to any rational mind it should have caused no issue. Prince, however, saw things differently. Seeing the video as copyright infringement for the use of his music, Prince and Universal Music Group sent Stephanie a 'takedown letter'. Feeling her rights had been violated by the order, Stephanie sued Universal Music Group.

Universal tried to get the case dismissed and for 8 years the debate has raged on. The case has been a study of online copyright, with the vast majority of people supporting Stephanie's claims. Now finally, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has reached a decision, stating that copyright holder must consider 'Fair use' before they issue a 'takedown letter', the same legislation that permits harmless use of copyrighted material in forms such as parody. Judge Richard Tallman ruled that: "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".

While this isn't an outright victory for Stephanie, it will allow for the case to go before a Jury, which is certainly a step in the right direction. The ruling will likely also mean that it will become harder for copyright holders to remove content unfairly in the future, forcing them to more carefully consider legislation such as 'fair use' before making any decisions or issuing any letters or orders.

The decision comes at an important time as the battle between YouTube and Facebook, or even Periscope and Meerkat, continues and video content is becoming more and more prevalent online. For those of you who are curious, the video that started the whole debate can be found below.




Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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'Dancing Baby' YouTube Copyright Case Finally Decided Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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