So, the dancing baby case, aka Lenz v. Universal, waltzes on to another court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled the case presents sufficient fair-use and other issues so that it cannot be dismissed through motions for summary judgment and it must go to trial.
As this blog has noted previously, seven years after mom Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video of her toddler jumping up and down to an audible tune (Let’s Go Crazy, which is how Lenz headlined her video) by a musician who formerly was known as Prince, a judge or a jury will decide whether Universal, acting on the musician’s behalf, properly filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down notice against her work.
She has won support from advocates who say that: major music publishers have been indiscriminate in their mass filings of the DMCA take-down notices (Lenz’s notice was one of 200 filed by Universal in a fell swoop); and, contrary to the statute, due consideration is not given to fair use defenses in allowing videos like Lenz’s, which make even sparing use of copyrighted music and lyrics. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has supported Lenz and sued Universal on her behalf, hailed the appellate ruling that sends this much publicized case to trial. It will be interesting to see how far Holden Lenz, who was a not walking tot when this case launched and now must be in elementary school, gets into his education before this matter resolves.