On a chilly February day, Stephanie Lenz decided to show her family and friends what her bouncing baby boy could do. She plopped 13-month-old Holden, then learning to walk, on the floor, cranked up Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” and whipped out the digital camera.
In the 29-second YouTube video that resulted, Holden smiles and bobs up and down to the music. According to Universal Music Publishing Group, he also helps his mom commit a federal crime: copyright infringement.
In June, Universal, which owns the rights to Prince’s song, sent a notice to YouTube requesting the video be taken down but did not take action against Lenz. On the contrary, Lenz sued Universal for abusing copyright law.
[…] [R]ecently — in part because of backlash among users and advocacy groups who say copyright holders are abusing the law and wrongfully taking down content — the challenges to these copyright claims also appear to be increasing.
“These companies are trying to shoot a mouse with an elephant gun,” said Gigi Sohn, director of Public Knowledge, a public-policy think tank that focuses on intellectual property. “They like to accuse their customers, the music fans and TV fans out there, of not respecting the law, but I don’t think they respect the law.”