Copyright Law

Harvard law prof Lessig sues record company, claims copyright threat violated law

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A Harvard law professor who is an expert on copyright issues decided to sue after an Australian record company accused him of infringement by using a French band’s song in a lecture posted on YouTube.

Law professor Larry Lessig claims he was protected by the fair use doctrine when he showed copycat video clips of people dancing to the Phoenix song “Lisztomania,” report the Boston Globe and the National Law Journal (reg. req.). The copyright threat by Liberation Music was a bad-faith takedown notice that violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as his free speech rights, he alleges in the suit (PDF).

Lessig told the National Law Journal he is concerned about an increase in baseless takedown claims spurred by automated content technology developed by YouTube and other companies. “If we are successful, the costs of that bad behavior will be clearer to these copyright owners, and if it is, I am hopeful we will have less of this abuse,” he said.

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