On Friday, March 18, Judge James Mahan, who is presiding over Righthaven LLC v. CIO in the District of Nevada, announced that he would dismiss Righthaven’s lawsuit on the grounds of fair use. The lawsuit involves the posting of an entire article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the organization’s Web site.
** UPDATE March 22, 2011: On March 18, the court dismissed Righthaven’s copyright action against the Center for Intercultural Organizing on the grounds of fair use. See further discussion in this post. ** Righthaven LLC is an intellectual property enforcement firm that was formed by a group of copyright attorneys and Stephens Media, the publisher… Continue Reading
The cause of action for misappropriation of reports of breaking news, i.e., "hot news" misappropriation, has been around for going on a century, since the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918). In that landmark case the Court recognized a "quasi property" right in such reports on… Continue Reading
Stephanie Lenz posted a homemade video on YouTube.com, depicting her toddler son dancing in his walker, with the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by “the artist professionally known as Prince” playing in the background. Several months later, attorneys for Universal Music, owner of the copyright in the recording, sent a takedown notice pursuant to § 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which requires that the notice include among other things “a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.” The video was promptly removed. Lenz responded with a DMCA counter-notification, and the video was re-posted several weeks later.
Lenz then instituted suit against Universal for damages and attorney fees under § 512(f) of the DMCA, alleging that in issuing the takedown notice, Universal lacked the statutorily required “good faith belief” that her use of the song was infringing. In the latest ruling in the action, Judge Jeremy Fogel in the Northern District of California ruled that the takedown provisions of DMCA § 512(c) require a copyright owner to “consider the fair use doctrine in formulating a good faith belief that ‘use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.’” Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., No. 07-3783 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2008) (emphasis added).