My attorney and friend Enrico pointed out his post Digital Millennium Lawsuit Against Universal Music Publishing. It’s an interesting case that could set precedent for how we are allowed to live our lives amid an ever growing cloud of media.
He’s sponsored an interview with Marcia Hoffman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Ms. Hoffman is the lead attorney representing YouTube contributor Stephanie Lenz against Universal Music Publishing Group, who recently shut down Ms. Lenz’ YouTube home video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on the internet with a bogus take down notice to YouTube. The whole interview is interesting and you should definitely check it out. Here’s a little…
…JOHN: Well, being a musician myself, I always understood that somebody can not take a song that I’ve copyrighted and make a profit off of it. How is this lady making a profit off of this little clip of her toddlers dancing on You Tube?
MARCIA: Well, that’s really part of the situation here. Very a much a part of the whole picture. The way that copyright law works is that while your creative works may be protected and other people can’t use them in ways you don’t like, people really do have a legitimate right to use your material in certain ways without your permission, and under the law, you have a right to make what’s called fair use of other people’s copyrighted material …
JOHN: Well, I can see why you might get involved in something like this. It certainly seems like Universal Music Group doesn’t have much of a foot to stand on in this debate, but how does EFF get involved in a matter like this?
MARCIA: Well, you know, we’re very concerned about situations like this. We want internet users to feel free to make the full use of the internet that they can. And to take other’s material and you know make transformative uses of it and create new things. I mean that’s one of the main goals behind copyright law is to encourage innovation and we feel that the internet is an incredible capability for distributing your work. What we really worry about in situations like this, is that when people make frivolous take down claims like this, it really discourages internet users from using sites like You Tube to distribute their work and you know many people I think receive a take down notice like this or hear that one has been made and even if they’re on good legal footing, they’re very intimidated by the fact that a big company is upset with something that they’ve done and has taken some sort of a legal action against them and so we just want to make sure that people understand that they have certain rights to do certain things with copyrighted material and we don’t want them to feel that they’re so intimidated that they would not like to distribute works that they’ve made to others. You know it’s also a free speech issue. We don’t want people to feel that they can’t say certain things or make certain criticisms about people online because they’re constantly fearing that they may be subject to some legal action for it.
About the photo: The photo is titled No Room for Trees in Times Square and Raymond says that this photo is best viewed large and I quite agree. He asks How many advertisements can they possibly squeeze into this place? I ask: If Universal Music’s contention is upheld, how could you ever take a photograph in Times Square or any urban environment without fear of a takedown order? We’ve got to get off this path of limiting people’s rights in regards to media because every day, the media penetrates our lives more.