Monday, September 9, 2013

Don't Mess With the Lessig

English: 3:4 Portrait crop featuring Lawrence ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School Professor and champion of a less copyright-restricted Internet, last month joined forces with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to file suit in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts against a Melbourne, Australia-based record company that accused the professor of infringing on a copyrighted song by using it in a lecture presented on YouTube.

In his 11-page complaint, Lessig v. Liberation Music Party Ltd. (Case No. 1:13-cv-12028), the professor is seeking injunctive relief, damages and declaratory judgment from the Court under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act [17 U.S.C. sec. 512] that his use of a 2009 tune, Lisztomania, by French songsters Phoenix in the YouTube lecture was protected by the Copyright Act's Fair Use provision [17 U.S.C. sec. 107].

Under the Fair Use defense against infringement claims, the Court weighs factors, including the purpose and character of the use of the copyrighted material, whether the use was for commercial or nonprofit educational purposes, the nature of the copyrighted work, and the amount and substanitality of the portion used.

According to an account of the case in The Boston Globe, Liberation Music claims to hold the copyright on Lisztomania and sent correspondence to Lessig accusing him of violating its license. In turn, Lessig claims in his complaint that the Down Under record company is abusing the Copyright Act and abridging his First Amendment rights.
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