A woman’s lawsuit against Los Angeles-based Universal Music over a YouTube video showing her children dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” can go forward, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
Stephanie Lenz sued Universal in 2007 after the label sent a takedown notice to YouTube, demanding that a 29-second home video of her two kids dancing to the song be removed for allegedly violating the copyright of the song.
Lenz then sent YouTube a counter-notification, claiming fair use of the material and requesting the video be reposted.
The Pennsylvania woman next sued Universal Music for misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, seeking a declaration from the court that her use of the copyrighted song was non-infringing. A San Francisco federal judge agreed and Universal appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
A three-judge appellate panel ruled that Universal Music should have considered whether Lenz’s post was a fair use before issuing the takedown notice.
The digital copyright act “requires copyright holders to consider fair use before sending a takedown notification, and that failure to do so raises a triable issue as to whether the copyright holder formed a subjective good faith belief that the use was not authorized by law,” the court concluded, finding that Lenz’s lawsuit can go forward.
A representative for Universal Music could not immediately be reached.
— City News Service