Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lawsuit against Universal music to my ears!

I guess someone's finally decided they've had their fill of greedy music companies thinking it's a copyright infringement anytime someone turns on their computer.

Recently, the mother of a 1-year-old boy fell victim to the corporate greed merchants after she posted a 29-second video on YouTube of the toddler dancing wildly to the song "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince (from 'Purple Baste') playing in the background. The music wasn't overdubbed onto the video but happened to be playing during the clip. It sounds like the music is coming from a weak AM radio down the hall and at times can barely be heard through the foreground audio. The clip can still be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KfJHFWlhQ

Universal Music Publishing Group, which owns the rights to the Prince tune, promptly complained to YouPube that the clip violated (you guessed it!) the rogue DMCA. That's exactly like saying a photo of a city skyline violates copyright law because a billboard featuring a copyrighted picture is visible off to the side.

But Corporate America picked on the wrong person this time. The woman who posted the video then turned around and sued Universal for its flagrant abuse of the copyright statutes.

All I have to say to Universal is: Ha ha! (Like Nelson on 'The Simpsons'.) The woman suing Universal said, "I don't like being bullied." Universal is getting what it deserves! Too funny!

DMCA or not, there are fair use exemptions for copyright. For instance, parodies are protected by law. So is most other use of a copyrighted work for a new work that has redeeming creative value. It's fair to say the YouTube clip is protected under that category.

It's amazing though what music companies will try to do with their DMCA. Even their ideological allies aren't safe. Music publishers, which are generally pretty conservative, can't pay the bills without holding the rights to music with crude lyrics - which itself offends conservatives. So when right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin posted a video on YouTube criticizing these lyrics, Universal even had the nerve to complain about that! Conservatives are funny when they turn against each other, aren't they?

If Congress would just repeal the DMCA (which was an implicit campaign promise), greedy music publishers wouldn't be able to use the DMCA to bludgeon parents who post home movies of their kids dancing. That Universal was able to go after the woman who posted the video of the toddler dancing to Prince is a direct result of the Contract With America. It's yet another case where politicians have directly affected average people.

(Source: http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071023/LIFE/710230384/1005)