US Supreme Court does not rule in ‘dancing baby’ case

The US Supreme Court has announced that it will not rule on the so-called dancing baby case, which has been going on since 2007. As a result, an earlier decision of a lower court remains in force. The case revolves around the American concept of fair use.

The case was brought by the American civil rights movement EFF. The EFF is involved in the case because the organization is assisting the woman who uploaded the famous ‘Dancing Baby’ video. This resulted in a takedown request from copyright holder Universal, because a piece of the Prince song ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ can be heard in the background. The contention of the uploader, one Ms. Lenz, and the EFF is that the background number is not infringing, as it falls under fair use in the US DMCA.

A lower court ruled in 2015, with the EFF and its client coming out as the winners. However, the organization was not happy with the verdict. On the one hand, the judge had ruled that a party like Universal must consider fair use before sending a takedown request. But on the other hand, the judge also determined that such a request is justified if the rightholder sincerely believes that an infringement is being committed. That didn’t go far enough for the EFF, as it would amount to a subjective standard. That is why the organization submitted the case to the highest American court.

According to Ars Technica, the Supreme Court’s refusal upholds the lower court’s previous judgment and Lenz and the EFF can only opt for a trial with a jury. Whether that will happen is not yet clear.

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