back to article Infamous 'Dancing Baby' copyright battle settled just before YouTube tot becomes a teen

An infamous and long-running copyright lawsuit over a dancing baby has finally come to a close, albeit with a critical legal question unresolved. Lenz v Universal Music was a case brought back in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz after the music industry giant accused her of infringing its copyright in a home video of her toddler dancing …

WINNERS....

so the only winner in this was the lawyers? Ten years of legal fees !!

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Anonymous Coward

Lawyers vs. Lawyers

Whoever wins... we lose.

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noting that is also wishes to "take a thoughtful approach to enforcement matters."

After 12 years? No you don't.

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FAIL

Counting the Dancing Baby Sheep

Lady Justice wears a blindfold.

She is impartial but also apparently afflicted with Non-24 disease.

This case should have been resolved and put to bed years ago.

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Angel

Re: Counting the Dancing Baby Sheep

"Lady Justice wears a blindfold ... and put to bed years ago."

Now, now ... normal people wouldn't do that; it takes a LAWYER to do that to Lady Justice. Although I'm sure the blindfold and velvet ropes do cost extra.

As an aside: Do bankruptcy lawyers accept checks from their clients?

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Re: Counting the Dancing Baby Sheep

>> As an aside: Do bankruptcy lawyers accept checks from their clients?

No, but they accept credit cards...

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Terminator

Formerly known as Prince

This case literally outlived the artist.

What a miserable day for justice, and of course a joyous day for lawyers.

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Fair use

As Lawrence Lessig has famously stated “Fair use is only the right to hire a lawyer”.

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Perhaps I'm being dense, but given the ambiguous nature of the Ninth Circuit ruling, what was Universal appealing?

And why did the Supreme Court refuse to hear that appeal? Was the ambiguity not enough to justify their time?

I can kinda get my head around a higher court refusing to accept a case (not sure about this one though). But bouncing it back down, feels like a teacher telling a student "Not good enough, try again".

While it's standard practice to take pot-shots at lawyers. Lets not forget their paymasters. If lawyers started to abandon idiot paymasters who failed to heed sensible advice, we'd all be in trouble.

This is one of the very few times I am left bamboozled by the judgement of the judges.

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Unfortunately it's not about justice, it's about the law

Refusing to hear an appeal is the default for the Supreme Court and, given the number of petitions for appeals, overwhelmingly the most common outcome. Basically the court will hear an appeal if it thinks there is a sufficiently important issue of law at stake. Otherwise the lower court's decision stands. In effect the decision is "legally speaking nothing to see here folks - go home".

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If you're referring to a copyright holder having to consider fair use before sending a DMCA complaint, but being entitled to do that consideration on their own, I don't think that's problematic. Otherwise, every single DMCA complaint would have to be judged by a third party. I'll guess that most unlicensed uses of copyrighted material are blatantly not fair use.

We need to remember however that a young person is involved, presumably attending a school where every other student will have seen that video this week. I'm out of touch with the youth of today but I assume this is still novel and embarrassing.

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Its too bad the EFF couldn't continue to fight in her name

She was probably tired of fighting this battle and wanted to put it behind her, and I totally understand that. But it is too bad the EFF couldn't have continued to fight so this could come to some sort of resolution - at least I hope the EFF wasn't going along with the settlement, because all those years of fighting didn't resolve anything.

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Re: Its too bad the EFF couldn't continue to fight in her name

There's nothing left to fight. The courts have spoken, the mother won. She may or may not want to further her career in campaigning on this issue, but that's really down to "what does she want to do with her time?" And if she thinks she's already spent quite enough of her energy on it, I for one sympathise completely.

As for the EFF, I'm sure that when the next case comes along they'll make a reasoned decision then whether or not to take it up.

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Re: Its too bad the EFF couldn't continue to fight in her name

"The courts have spoken, the mother won. "

she didn't win though, they settled..

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Root

The root of the problem is that Youtube/Google exposed the user to legal action by having the default mode as broadcast to the world rather than share with family and friends which was the intention of the user. Youtube/Google wants all the benefits of being a publisher without the risks and the creative work of producing content, treating creators with contempt -- as in effect serfs.

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Anonymous Coward

take a thoughtful approach to enforcement matters

thoughtful approach = bots

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Re: take a thoughtful approach to enforcement matters

No, no, the thoughtful approach is to let 3rd parties do the enforcing for them. Using bots.

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What I'd have done

Taken the video down.

Removed the audio.

Reposted it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I'd have done

You missed the bit where the EFF offered to fight it on her behalf because it was intended as a test case for "fair use", then?

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You missed the bit

I must have done. I'll re-read.

I also read about Fair Use. (Comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.)

Yep, I still wouldn't have got myself involved in a fight with a big company over something so trivial. I would have had nothing to gain personally and a great deal of pain ahead of me. ("In other words, this 11-year court battle has not really resolved anything and we can expect to see another one on the exact same topic soon.")

Still, it's nice to know that having taken on Prince and his publishers this woman is back to square one. Oh wait, her video is still on-line. WIN!

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Anonymous Coward

Apparently *not* the uncanny valley guest star of "Ally McBeal" then...

Saw the headline, assumed it was referring to the original late-90s "Dancing Baby" (#) and thought "Before it becomes a teen? That clip has to be around twenty years old already." (Confirmed that, yes it is- apparently it dates back to late 1996).

Was surprised that anything involving *that* was still going until I read on, realised it referred to the "Prince" case (which I was already aware of, but not under that name) and it made more sense.

Anyway, it's a shame that, ultimately, nothing really useful has come out of this, since that was the only real reason for making such a big legal fuss over it in the first place.

(#) An animated GIF and video of a CGI baby dancing the cha-cha that now looks incredibly dated and "what was all the fuss?" but which was one of the earliest viral clips, back in those simpler times when people were impressed by such things.

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Not a total loss.

Of course, while the courts never really reached a decision, the copyrights holder would have paid thousands in lawyers and gained nothing in return. That, in itself, is a bloody nose for one copyright holder and others will take notice.

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Re: Not a total loss.

I'd disagree with that because the copyright holder showed everyone that they had better capitulate or face massively expensive litigation which the company has endless money to fund but can do so for longer than those involved may live.

It was yet another loss when it comes to open discussion and posting on the internet.

Which is now the default. Even these posts have been deemed acceptable by this site, those that were not acceptable are invisible making the censorship opaque, hidden, damaging to the open informed discussions needed in functioning democracies. Of course that is of no matter to companies or sites like YouTube.

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Re: Not a total loss.

I'd disagree with that because the copyright holder showed everyone that they had better capitulate or face massively expensive litigation which the company has endless money to fund but can do so for longer than those involved may live.

This is a very real strategy, and one routinely employed by big companies. I've seen it deployed by private equity firms and large banks, alongside bribing/pressuring law firms for the other side, by encouraging them to drop litigation in return for juicy contracts.

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It will continue to happen...

..until something is done about the abuse.

I had a really old video from 2003 of my walk around the old family home. Put it on YouTube and hit got hit with a strike by Kings Of Leon. I looked at the end of the video and like all home videos, something had been recorded at the end. It was at my sisters old house and my brother in law filming my nephew in the kitchen. He was about 2 and they happened to be listening to Kings Of Leon in the background. While playing he danced to it but it wasn't what the video was about.

Yet the owners of said music still decided to flag it. Dicks. I ended up just re-editing the video to cut that bit out.

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