Last night, Larry Lessig tweeted that Warner Music had sent a takedown notice to YouTube over one of his presentations, claiming that it infringed their copyright. Lessig, of course, is one of the nation's leading legal scholars, particularly when it comes to fair use and electronic media. His presentations are filled with examples of companies like Warner sending bogus takedowns over fair-use inclusion of their copyrights in YouTube videos. And there's a burgeoning body of law that affords stiff penalties to companies that send these bogus takedowns.
If there were anyone out there to whom you would not want to send a random takedown notice for an online video, it would probably be Larry Lessig. Given that Lessig has become the public face for those who feel that copyright has been stretched too far, as well as being a founder of Stanford's Fair Use Project, and who's written multiple books on these issues, you would think (just maybe) that any copyright holder would at least think twice before sending a DMCA takedown on a Larry Lessig presentation.
Apparently, you'd be wrong.
Lessig, of course, is a lawyer, and a big supporter of fair use, so it's no surprise that he's also said he's going to be fighting this.
The thing that I can't understand is who at Warner Music would decide this was a good idea? We've seen Warner make a number of highly questionable moves over the past six months, but this may be the most incomprehensible. Warner Music may claim it was an accident or that it didn't mean to send the takedown, but that's hard to fathom as well. The DMCA rules are pretty clear, that the filer needs to clearly own the content, and previously lawsuits have said they need to take fair use into account. I'm going to make a BIG bowl of popcorn to watch as Warner Music gets pwned.
Update: Some people have been asking which Lessig presentation was taken down. It's been reposted elsewhere, so you can check it out, and then explain how Warner Music has any claim to a takedown.