Fair Use: Let's Go Crazy
A California judge has ruled that copyright owners must consider whether their content has been used within the parameters of fair use before issuing a take down notice.
The ruling is pursuant to a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania woman in response to Universal Music‘s request to take down the following video of her child jammin’ to Prince‘s Let’s Go Crazy:
The ruling is not just a victory for fair use, it’s a victory for society. Fair Use is a principle that is crucial to a healthy democracy. The ruling at least puts a modest restraint on the often heavy-handed enforcement of copyrights.
I’m all for being able to ensure your right to profit from your intellectual property but I think a lot of copyright enforcement is short-sighted. This case is a perfect example.
While I might disagree with the marketing wisdom of removing low-quality music videos from YouTube, most reasonable people would agree that music companies are well within their rights to do so.
But what, exactly, is Universal Music accomplishing by hassling a Pennsylvania mother over the use of a few seconds of ambient, garbled music to which they hold a copyright? The video is all of 30 seconds long and the quality of the audio is horrible. Is this video really going to deter people from buying Prince’s music?
Instead, due to the publicity of the lawsuit, Universal Music and by association, Prince, paint themselves as senselessly harassing their customers.