News: The EFF gang is at it again. This time, they’re suing Universal Music Group on behalf of Stephanie Lenz for sending YouTube an allegedly improper takedown notice under the DMCA to remove video of her baby dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for 29 seconds. (Complaint) (More)
Analysis: Fair use is always a difficult thing to predict because courts have a lot of discretion to decide however they see fit. And I don’t think there’s been any test case for fair use of background music in a home video. This one, though, seems to me to be a pretty strong case of fair use. The segment of Prince’s song is short and barely audible amid the ruckus created by the kids. It’s not substitutional of Prince’s song in any respect. Also, the song was used in one of those spontaneous moments involving a baby that all parents want to preserve on film to document their child’s growth. I think it would be similar to a news reporter showing a scene from a county fair and having (spontaneously) some live music being captured in the background.