Monthly Archives: September 2015

Controversy or Sign o’ the Times?: Fair Use, the DMCA, and Lenz

By Carl Eppler

Music sheetRecently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion that further defines the intersection of the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (15 U.S.C. § 512) (the “DMCA”). In Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., No. 13-16106, 13-16107 (9th Cir., Sept. 14, 2015), the Court stated that in order for a copyright holder to send a take-down notice under the DMCA to a host of online content and meet the DMCA’s requirement of a “good faith belief” that the material at issue is not authorized, it must have considered whether the material makes fair use of the copyright.

In brief, this case arose after plaintiff Stephanie Lenz posted a short video clip on YouTube. The 29-second clip showed Lenz’s child dancing to Prince’s hit song, “Let’s Go Crazy.” Universal Music sent a take-down notice to YouTube, alleging the use of the song in the video was unauthorized, and YouTube removed the video. Lenz then sent a counter-notice to YouTube to have the video restored, to which Universal Music protested. Lenz then Continue reading