Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Kiran K. Jassal


In Lenz v. Universal, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before filing takedown notices for infringing content posted on the internet. In the case, Stephanie Lenz uploaded a home video to YouTube of her children dancing to Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy.” In response, Universal Music Corporation submitted a takedown notice to YouTube pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), claiming that Lenz's home video violated its copyright in the song. Lenz claimed fair use of the copyrighted material and sued Universal for misrepresentation of a DMCA claim. In a decision rejecting a motion to dismiss the claim, the District Court held that Universal must consider fair use before filing a takedown notice, but noted that in order to prevail on a misrepresentation claim, a claimant would need to show bad faith by the copyright holder who filed the takedown notice. On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion could have long-lasting effects on fair use and how copyright holders submit DMCA takedown notices.

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