- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Copyright
- Date Filed: 09-14-2015
- Case #: 13-16106
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tallman for the Court; Circuit Judges M. Smith and Murguia; Partial Concurrence and Partial Dissent by Judge M.Smith, Jr.
- Full Text Opinion
Stephanie Lenz uploaded a video to YouTube of her children dancing to the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. Universal Music Corp., Universal Music Publishing, Inc., and Universal Music Publishing Group ( together Universal) were Prince’s publishing administrator and responsible for enforcing his copyrights. A representative of Universal found Lenz’s video and concluded that Prince’s song was the focus of her video and thus making unauthorized use of the song. The representative placed the video on YouTube takedown notification which send notices to uploader which include a “good faith belief” statement as required by 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A)(v). Lenz received an email notifying her YouTube removed her video. After email exchanges between Lenz and Universal, YouTube reinstated the video. Thereafter, Lenz filed a claim against Universal alleging a claim for misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 17 U.S.C. § 512(f), which makes entities liable for knowingly misrepresenting that material is infringing on copyrights. Both parties motioned for summary judgment, however the district court denied and ordered for interlocutory appeal under § 1292(b), and stayed proceedings pending resolution. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the district court and concluded 512(c)(3)(A)(v) requires copyright holder to first consider whether the material qualifies as fair use copyright exception, prior to sending a takedown notification, and that the failure to do so creates a triable issue as to whether the copyright holder formed a subjective “good faith” belief that the use was not authorize by law. The panel reasoned that the fair use doctrine is uniquely situated in copyright law and that a copyright holder must consider its existence prior to sending a takedown notice pursuant to § 512(c). AFFIRMED.