Universal Retracts DMCA On Journalist Video Of Prince Fans Singing Purple Rain

from the that-was-quick dept

Well, that was quick. We had just been talking about Universal's insane decision to DMCA a journalist's video of Prince fans singing Purple Rain shortly after his death, made particularly strange as it occurred in the wake of it settling the Dancing Baby DMCA case to avoid being punished for not considering Fair Use. That retreat from a decision which would have provided precedent for whether issuing a DMCA without giving even a modicum of thought to whether Fair Use would apply was irritating to many of us for a number of reasons, but primarily because it would give room for bad actors to DMCA away without the assurance of consequence. For Universal to provide an example of that itself, and to do so immediately after the Dancing Baby case was settled, was particularly frustrating.

But, again, it seems we won't get clarity on the point. Universal appears to have realized how bad this all looked, and could get, and has retracted its takedown claim.

Now, is it ultimately good that Universal backed off this DMCA claim? Of course it is. But it should be obvious that the problem remains that it, and others, can peel off DMCA notices, including on journalists, without real fear of reprisal from the courts and simply run away when there is enough public backlash to warrant it. Again, a key here is that this DMCA notice issued by Universal was against a video that is as blatantly Fair Use as it gets. But Universal will bear no consequence for it.

When the reductio ad absurdum has become the real-life example, it's probably time we had some real codified rules and punishments for this kind of behavior.

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Filed Under: 512(f), copyright, dmca, fair use, prince, takedowns
Companies: universal music


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 7:56am

    Re: Posting on a "private web-site" is NOT a "privilege",

    Awww... did I hurt your crybaby hero? Anyway, to answer your questions, since I'm sure you think you're being clever somewhere:

    "1) What does "private" even mean when published and invites entire world?"

    Same it does with any other private entity. Just because your local supermarket is technically open to anywhere who wishes to step foot inside, that doesn't mean they can't bar people, so long as if by doing so they don't break any other law. "open to the public" does not mean "we have no control over who uses it"

    "2) WHO owns a "web-site", anyway?"

    Define "website". The domain is owned by whoever the whois/ICANN says it it. The servers may be rented or owned. The code may be open source or proprietary. The content by others. But, generally speaking, if Facebook own and operate servers that run code owned and operated by Facebook, it belongs to Facebook.

    "if allow The Public in, then have CEDED some right to "private property""

    But not ALL of it. It's like the restaurant who decided to kick out the moron in chief's mouthpiece recently. The public had the right to enter, the restaurant retained the right to refuse under certain circumstances. He chose to kick someone out, even if she was a member of the public at the time, and still has that right.

    *Especially* if that person owns and operates another restaurant, which in this case Jones has his own property to shout from if he wishes. He just can't force anyone else to let him, unless they work for the government.

    "3) Where is this "corporation"?"

    Wherever it's incorporated.

    "4) Again, mere statute doesn't over-ride The Public's Constitutional Right"

    If you're referring to the first amendment, that refers to restrictions on what the government can do to block your speech. It does not compel whichever random piece of private property you decide to step on to allow you that speech. It means you can't be barred from the town square for standing on your soapbox, not that someone has to allow you to stand on their front porch.

    "And no, corporations are NOT persons, do not have rights, they are FICTIONS."

    LEGAL fictions, and US law says they have the same right to speech as individuals at the moment. I'll agree with you that this is dumb, but it's also literally what right-wing idiots demanded because they hated Clinton, now they're whining because it applies equally to others.

    Please, lobby to get this right to be removed from fictional legal entities, but until you manage that, this is how it works.

    "5) The Public's use is the PURPOSE of any and every web-site"

    No, it's really not. You might be getting confused because you insist on trolling a website that doesn't block members of the public, but there are a great many that reserve the right to entry or block entire countries because they want to.

    By the way, all of this is hilarious, given that Alex Jones himself owns a company that gives him corporate rights. He just wants to use other peoples' websites to spew his bullshit because he knows they have a bigger audience.

    "I've added this to boiler-plate on CDA 230 for future use."

    The posts where you whine against the public's right to public domain material as much as you demand their right to private property here?

    I'll remember this post too, and remember that you're all for the public's right to use private property as they wish.

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