Here’s a nice bit of common sense, courtesy of the U.S. legal system: A ruling (embedded below) that tells big media companies that they can’t just send out blanket takedown notices when they see stuff they don’t like on YouTube or other Websites. Instead, they’re going to have to actually think about whether or not whoever submitted the clip (or whatever) has a right to do so. Wired:
In the nation’s first such ruling, a federal judge on Wednesday said copyright owners must consider “fair use” of their works before sending takedown notices to online video-sharing sites.
The 10-page decision (.pdf) came a month after Universal Music told a San Jose, California federal judge that copyright owners need not consider the “fair use” doctrine before issuing takedown notices requiring online video-sharing sites to remove content.
The doctrine, recognised by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, permits limited use of copyright materials without the owner’s permission.
“Even if Universal is correct that fair use only excuses infringement, the fact remains that fair use is a lawful use of a copyright,” U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled. “Accordingly, in order for a copyright owner to proceed under the DMCA with ‘a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorised by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law,’ the owner must evaluate whether the material makes fair use of the copyright.”
This is an important ruling, because copyright holders have increasingly been using abusing the DMCA’s takedown provisisions, like Universal did in the case this ruling stems from — a mother who posted a clip of her dancing kid, which included a few seconds of a Prince song playing in the background. “Psychic” Uri Geller did the same thing to someone who posted a documentary about him on the site. And overeager “Boostbusters” have been taking down clips that the copyright owners actually wanted up — like footage of a Led Zeppelin concert last year.
This doesn’t actually mean that the mum in the Prince/UMG case will win her case, though — she’s asking for damages, and the ruling simply says the case can proceed.
See Also: How Does Someone With Psychic Powers Silence YouTube Critics? With The DMCA
mum Vs Prince: The Dancing Baby Video Putting Big Media On Trial
Led Zeppelin YouTube Culprit: Overeager “Bootbusters”
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