September 10, 2013
Lawrence Lessig, a distinguished copyright legal scholar, has sued an Australian independent record label in Massachusetts federal court, asserting that he may legally post a lecture on YouTube that includes snippets of one of Liberation Music PTY Ltd.’s copyrighted songs. According to the complaint, Liberation Music PTY owns the copyright to the band Phoenix’s song “Lisztomania.”
On June 4, 2010, Lessig gave a 49-minute lecture to the Creative Commons, which included YouTube videos using this song as the soundtrack. After a YouTube user posted a “Lisztomania” video, amateurs worldwide posted copycat performances, which illustrated an online version of “call-and-response” communication, Lessig explained during his lecture, according to the suit. Lessig then posted this lecture to YouTube but received a takedown notice from Liberation threatening litigation, the suit says.
He is seeking a judgment that the “transformative” and “educational” YouTube post constitutes non-infringing fair use, as well as damages, costs and fees.
Lessig v. Liberation Music PTY Ltd., No. 1:13cv12028, complaint filed (D. Mass. Aug. 22, 2013).
Related Court Document on Westlaw or WestlawNext:
Complaint: 2013 WL 4494483