Space Ramblings

EFF Rocks Universal

Yesterday the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against Universal Music Publishing Group, asking a federal court to protect the fair use and free speech rights of a mother who posted a short video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on the Internet.

In February Stephanie Lenz uploaded a 29 second clip of her son bouncing around to the song “Let’s Go Crazy,” which is heard playing in the background. Last month YouTube informed Lenz that it had removed the video from its website after Universal claimed that the recording infringed a copyright controlled by the music company.

I should have more sympathy for Stephanie Lenz but I have trouble getting up any sympathy, empathy or anything but disgust for any mother who has her kid dancing to Prince songs. The Beatles I could understand. That could be cute. Van Halen, okay. But Prince? Do you want the kid’s future to involve dancing on tables in the Hot Sausage Factory in San Francisco? Because that’s pretty much what Stephanie Lenz has to look forward to. If anything Universal did her a favor. They should have also sent goons to her house to confiscate every Prince album she’s exposed that innocent child too. It’s a clear case of child abuse.

But seriously folks, this has been going on for a while now. Is a video with a copyrighted song an infringement? Good question. If a movie studio had produced a clip with a copyrighted song to it without paying for it, they’d be rightly sued for it. The difference here is that it’s supposedly non-commercial but YouTube is commercial. Universal didn’t sue Stephanie Lenz but considering that YouTube profits directly from the videos on its site, doesn’t Universal have a right to expect a video put to commercial use featuring a copyrighted song to be removed?

Oh yeah and it’s Prince.

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