Lenz and Goliath
Posted October 29th, 2007 by David J. Ensign
On Oct. 26, ABC News reported the story of 18-month-old Holden Lenz, whose mother Stephanie had videotaped him dancing as the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" played on a CD in the background. She posted the 29-second video on YouTube and within four months, twenty-eight people had viewed the video. Universal Music Publishing Group, which owns the rights to the song, filed a take-down notice and Lenz received a warning from YouTube that further copyright infringement could lead to cancellation of her account. She also received a threatening letter from Universal. According to the ABC story, Prince is especially aggressive in searching the Internet for unauthorized use of his music. Lenz appealed the takedown notice, and YouTube has reinstated the video. Because of its notoriety, the video has now been viewed 100,000 times. Lenz has filed a lawsuit against Universal for abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Regardless of the outcome of that lawsuit, this and other recent stories makes it clear that in the foreseeable future videos on YouTube will be more closely scrutinized for infringement. It will be interesting to see how the nature of the site will change as a result.