Creative Commons Co-Founder Lawrence Lessig Wins His Battle Against Music Publisher In YouTube Fair Use Dispute

Australian music publisher Liberation Music has learned something that most of us probably wouldn’t have needed a lesson to know to begin with: don’t mess with a Harvard Law professor who specializes in copyright and fair use issues over copyright and fair use issues.

After a lengthy court battle, Liberation Music has settled with Harvard Law School Professor and Creative Commons Co-Founder Lawrence Lessig over a copyright dispute regarding one of Lessig’s YouTube videos. In the settlement, Liberation Music admitted wrong-doing, will pay an undisclosed sum as compensation to Lessig, and the music publisher has promised to amend their copyright policies so that the same error doesn’t happen again in the future. Lessig’s video has also been restored by YouTube.

The story began in 2010 when Lessig delivered a lecture at a Creative Commons conference in South Korea. In the lecture, titled “Open,” Lessig employed fan-made clips of people dancing to the Phoenix song “Lisztomania” as examples of proper fair use. Soon thereafter, Lessig uploaded his lecture in full to YouTube, clips and all.

However, Viacom and Liberation Music, Phoenix’s music label, found fault with the use of their content in some of the clips in his video and filed complaints via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. YouTube was then forced to remove the video, and Lessig filed a counter notice to have his video restored. Liberation then threatened to sue Lessig if he did not drop his claim, which he eventually did. Later, Lessig, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, brought the case to court saying that his video fell under legal fair use principles.

On Phoenix’s end, the band posted their support of Lessig and fair use doctrine today on their official Tumblr:

We support Fair Use of our music!

We were upset to find out that a lecture by Professor Lawrence Lessig titled ‘Open’ was removed from YouTube without review, under the mistaken belief that it infringed our copyright interests.

This lecture about Fair-Use included -as examples- bits of spontaneous fan videos using our song Lisztomania.

Not only do we welcome the illustrative use of our music for educational purposes, but, more broadly, we encourage people getting inspired and making their own versions of our songs and videos and posting the result online.

One of the great beauties of the digital era is to liberate spontaneous creativity – it might be a chaotic space of free association sometimes but the contemporary experience of digital re-mediation is enormously liberating.

We don’t feel the least alienated by this; appropriation and recontextualization is a long-standing behavior that has just been made easier and more visible by the ubiquity of internet.

In a few words:
We absolutely support Fair Use of our music,

and we can only encourage a new copyright policy that protects Fair Use as much as every creators’ legitimate interests.

PHOENIX

 

Also see:

Restored: Bart Baker’s Lorde Parody Back Up Suddenly After Music Publisher Snafu

Fair Use or Copyright Infringement? Anti-Gay Politician Successfully Squashes Watch Dog’s YouTube Channel

9 Things You Should Know About Copyright and Fair Use on YouTube

Worried Your Cover Song On YouTube Is Illegal? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About It

 

 

lips of user-generated videos showing people dancing to Phoenix’s single “Lisztomania,” which was a popular meme at the time started by user “Avoidant Consumer,” – See more at: http://newmediarockstars.com/2013/08/harvard-law-professor-sues-australian-music-publisher-over-takedown-of-youtube-lecture/#sthash.neFua38S.dpuf
lips of user-generated videos showing people dancing to Phoenix’s single “Lisztomania,” which was a popular meme at the time started by user “Avoidant Consumer,” – See more at: http://newmediarockstars.com/2013/08/harvard-law-professor-sues-australian-music-publisher-over-takedown-of-youtube-lecture/#sthash.neFua38S.dpuf
lips of user-generated videos showing people dancing to Phoenix’s single “Lisztomania,” which was a popular meme at the time started by user “Avoidant Consumer,” – See more at: http://newmediarockstars.com/2013/08/harvard-law-professor-sues-australian-music-publisher-over-takedown-of-youtube-lecture/#sthash.neFua38S.dpuf
lips of user-generated videos showing people dancing to Phoenix’s single “Lisztomania,” which was a popular meme at the time started by user “Avoidant Consumer,” – See more at: http://newmediarockstars.com/2013/08/harvard-law-professor-sues-australian-music-publisher-over-takedown-of-youtube-lecture/#sthash.neFua38S.dpuf