Let’s not go crazy

There’s an interesting story being reported about a Pennsylvania mother called Stephanie Lenz who received a letter from Universal Music because a clip she uploaded to YouTube had a prince song in the background (‘Let’s go crazy’).

The clip is 29 seconds long, of very poor quality, and the song in the background is barely audible. However the letter demanded the clip be removed because of copyright infringement.

Lenz has decided to take a stand against the decision and has backing from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The point she makes is that organisations should think twice before accusing huge numbers of people (the recipients of these ‘take down letters’) of having commited federal crimes.

For Universal, it’s another spectacular own goal likely to lead to clear legal presedence against their current methods of protecting copyright.

Obviously particularly ironic considering Prince now routinely gives his music away for free, it is of course a great little illustration of the deep need for us to reconsider (and relax) copyright laws and to rethink the meaning of ‘fair use’ of purchased or public material.

via George Parker.