A toddler when his star turn in a homemade YouTube video incurred the legal wrath of Universal Studios and Prince, the “Dancing Baby” at the heart of an important copyright case is likely nine years old today.
Which means the wheels of justice have been grinding on this one for eight years. And they may grind on for who knows how many more.
For those who have yet to see it, here’s the video:
Today a California appeals court will hear Universal’s appeal of a lower court ruling that held the music behemoth liable for its indiscriminate use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown process.
From an EFF press release:
Lenz v. Universal is often called the “dancing baby” case. It started in 2007, when Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her children dancing in her kitchen, with the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” playing on a stereo in the background. Universal Music Group sent YouTube a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that the family video infringed the copyright in Prince’s song. EFF sued Universal on Lenz’s behalf, arguing that Universal abused the DMCA by improperly targeting a lawful fair use. In the hearing at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco on Tuesday, EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry will tell the court that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending a takedown notice, or face legal liability.
The Ninth Circuit will issue its ruling, which the loser will be free to appeal, presumably to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The “Dancing Baby” could be in high school before this one’s over.