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Aug 21, 2008

Courts To Big Media: Careful With Those Takedown Notices (GOOG)

Ed: The copyright holder (i.e. publisher, producer, developer) needs to make the case that the use is beyond "fair use" before the courts will accept the case. 

Courts To Big Media: Careful With Those Takedown Notices (GOOG)

In the nation's first such ruling, a federal judge on Wednesday said copyright owners must consider "fair use" of their works before sending takedown notices to online video-sharing sites.

The 10-page decision (.pdf) came a month after Universal Music told a San Jose, California federal judge that copyright owners need not consider the "fair use" doctrine before issuing takedown notices requiring online video-sharing sites to remove content.

The doctrine, recognized by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, permits limited use of copyright materials without the owner's permission.

"Even if Universal is correct that fair use only excuses infringement, the fact remains that fair use is a lawful use of a copyright," U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled. "Accordingly, in order for a copyright owner to proceed under the DMCA with '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,' the owner must evaluate whether the material makes fair use of the copyright."

This is an important ruling, because copyright holders have increasingly been using abusing the DMCA's takedown provisisions, like Universal did in the case this ruling stems from -- a mother who posted a clip of her dancing kid, which included a few seconds of a Prince song playing in the background"Psychic" Uri Geller did the same thing to someone who posted a documentary about him on the site. And overeager "Boostbusters" have been taking down clips that the copyright owners actually wanted up -- like footage of a Led Zeppelin concert last year...

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