September 15, 2015
Read or listen to the full interview at NPR.
NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Daniel Nazer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the impact of this ruling. An appeals court ruled the music used in the video was an instance of fair use.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
When Stephanie Lenz saw her toddler jamming out in the kitchen to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy," naturally she took a video and posted it to YouTube.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
STEPHANIE LENZ: What do you think of the music?
CORNISH: OK, yes, the audio quality there is terrible, but Universal Music said the video infringed on the song's copyright. It asked YouTube to take the video down, which it did. Lenz petitioned YouTube to repost the video and it did. This was all back in 2007.
Now, Lenz sued Universal, saying the company should've recognized that the music was used legally. And yesterday, an appeals court in San Francisco ruled in her favor. It was a blow to companies that send out those take down notices by the hundreds and tips the scale toward those posting others' work. Daniel Nazer is an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was part of the team that represented Lenz in this case. Welcome to the program.
DANIEL NAZER: Hi.
CORNISH: So help us understand here - is it right that this woman - Stephanie Lenz - used this music legally under what's known as fair use? How does that apply here?
NAZER: Absolutely. This is a really clear case of fair use. It's a home video of a baby dancing and there's some music in the background. And there's no way this would be some kind of market substitute for the original Prince song.
CORNISH: So what was the argument from the publisher? Is it because of how many views the video got?
NAZER: No. Their view was that they can just take it down without considering fair use. They took a pretty strong line in this case that fair use is just too much work for them to have to consider before they send takedowns.