US judge orders trial in dancing baby case
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

US judge orders trial in dancing baby case

A judge has ordered a full trial will be held over the now-renowned video of a baby dancing to a Prince song on YouTube, in a case which may help to define the limits of US copyright law

Stephanie Lenz posted the 29-second clip of her son dancing to the song Let's Go Crazy by Prince &The Revolution to YouTube in 2007. YouTube removed the recording after Universal Music issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice, claiming Lenz violated its copyright on the song.

Lenz, with help from public interest organisation the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), later sued Universal under DMCA section 512(f) for failing to consider fair use.


Last week, US District Judge Jeremy Fogel rejected arguments from both sides for summary judgment, ruling that a trial is needed to resolve disputed facts in the case.

Among other things, the court will consider whether Universal’s actions meet the high standard of subjective faith. Lenz argues that Universal’s screening process was so deficient that it demonstrated wilful blindness to whether the video fell under fair use exemptions.

Universal argues that the DMCA should not apply in this case, despite having sent the takedown notice pursuant to the DMCA. The company claims it only used DMCA procedures because YouTube's terms of service required as much to remove videos. 

Universal also argues that YouTube is ineligible for the safe harbour provision of the DMCA because hosting videos does not constitute “storage at the discretion of the user” as defined in Section 512.

The case, Lenz v Universal, is being tried in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose. Universal is being represented by Kelly Klaus of Munger Tolles & Olson; Lenz is being represented by Cindy Cohn of EFF and Ashok Ramani of Keker & Van Nest.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Firms explain how monitoring, referrals and relationships with foreign firms helped them get more work at the TTAB
Luke Toft explains why he moved back to Fox Rothschild after working in-house at Sleep Number for five months
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
In a seminal ruling, the Beijing Internet Court said images generated by Stable Diffusion counted as original works
Boston-based John Lanza is hoping to work more with life sciences colleagues on the ‘exciting’ application of AI to drug discovery
The Delhi High Court has expressed its willingness to set global licensing terms in the Nokia-Oppo dispute, but it must deal with longstanding problems first
Some patent counsel are still encountering errors even though the USPTO has fully transitioned to the new system
A senior USPTO attorney spoke at a Nokia-sponsored event on the EU’s proposed SEP Regulation today, November 29
IP counsel are ‘flooded’ with queries from clients worried about deepfakes, but the law has so far come up short
Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP practitioner about their life and career