Washington DC
31 May 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Dancing Baby case ‘cannot wait’, says EFF


Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbours require definitive and final clarification, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has argued in a final brief to the Supreme Court.

Speaking on behalf of Stephanie Lenz, in response to the US government’s call for the case to be dropped, the EFF said the DMCA’s safe harbours are in a state of flux, with five competing interpretations of the act, that they are “too important to be left in this state of confusion”.

The Supreme Court invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the US government in October last year.

The case focuses on Lenz, creator of the 29 second ‘Dancing Baby’ YouTube video, which featured her toddler son dancing to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy.

Universal Music Group sent a takedown notice to YouTube claiming that Lenz had committed copyright infringement under the DMCA. The EFF took the case on behalf of Lenz and sued UMG for improper use of the DMCA.

In its response, the EFF said that the court “can and should grant review to ensure that those parameters are properly construed”.

“The government’s own brief demonstrates the need to grant certiorari in this case. The government’s concern that the parties and the statute is not grounds for denying the petition.”

The EFF said the government's position is incorrect and does “not render this case an inappropriate vehicle” for discussing the DMCA. “That review cannot wait for some other time or case.”

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