The 8-Year Dancing Baby Copyright Lawsuit Saga

It was just a 29 second clip, but the issue surrounding its use has dragged on for eight years. Amber Healy from brother site, Geeks&Beats reports.

A smiling toddler bopping around in the kitchen while mom listens to music is nothing new. Neither is mom wanting to share that moment with friends and family and posting a video of her cute kid to YouTube.

But an eight-year-old video, with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” in the background, might be a precedent-setting lawsuit in the Internet age, when it’s common practice to upload videos of everyday life.

On Sept. 14, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, issued a ruling in an ongoing lawsuit filed against Universal Music Group by Stephanie Lenz, the mom who took a short video of her kids and received a takedown order from the record company. At the time, Universal, which owns the copyright to Prince’s song, claimed she violated their legal rights by using the song without express permission.

All this over a 29-second video in which at least two children are running around in their home while mom holds a recording device and the Prince song is playing in the background. The song isn’t the focal point of the video, nor was it dubbed in on purpose after the footage was filmed.

The court decided that prior to filing a takedown notice, which requires a website like YouTube to remove something from its page and gives the poster a chance to argue his or her case, the copyright holder has to consider whether the original poster can make a “fair use” argument.

Why should you care? Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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