How much should a copyright owner pay for improperly telling a web site to remove content?
Stephanie Lenz got into trouble with Universal Music Group in 2007 after she posted a YouTube video of her toddler dancing to the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy.” The label fired off a letter demanding removal of the clip and Youtube complied.
Lenz then teamed with online free-speech advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation to get a judge to declare that her video was a “fair use” of the song. She then sought damages against Universal, the world’s biggest record company, for sending a meritless takedown request.
Universal fought back by raising affirmative defenses that Lenz had bad faith and unclean hands in pursuing damages. Now a California district court judge has rejected those arguments, granting partial summary judgment to Lenz and paving the way for Lenz to collect attorneys fees.