News media have started to pick up on the lawsuit filed in August by Lawrence Lessig, which challenges takedown notice practices by Liberation Music under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”) in relation to Lessig's lecture series later posted on YouTube, which featured third party content creators and the song "Lisztomania" by the French band Phoenix, whose copyrights Liberation apparently claims it enforces.
One of the lurking issues in the murky waters of copyright fair use is the takedown notice provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”). The DMCA, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 512, implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and absolves internet service providers (“ISPs”) who disable allegedly infringing content when notified by the copyright holder. In practice, this is known as a “takedown notice,” and serves to protect ISPs like YouTube from secondary infringement if a user posts something with infringing content (the easiest example being an unedited clip of a copyrighted movie). Copyright holders patrol the internet to various degrees, but § 512 gives the holders a tool to encourage compliance, and ISPs a way not to be sued out of existence.
Topics: World Intellectual Property Organization, ISPs, Copyright Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, Viacom, YouTube, Eldred v. Ashcroft, Lawrence Lessig, Copyright, 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, Liberation Party Music Ltd., 17 U.S.C. § 512, Phoenix, Fair Use, Harvard Law School