Lawrence Lessig, who garnered a lot of attention earlier this year with an appearance on The Colbert Report about copyright and remixing, was recently issued a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice by Warner Music for a YouTube presentation, according to Ars Technica.
The growing volume of infringing content on YouTube has made it a major target for DMCA takedown notices. Unfortunately, the content producers that are flooding the site with takedowns are rarely taking adequate steps to ensure the validity of their claims and are indiscriminately targeting videos that fall within the boundaries of fair use.
Professor Lessig has spent most of his career focusing on the law and technology as it relates to copyright, and has already protested the takedown notice, citing fair use for the audio clips used in the presentation.
Lessig is strongly committed to educating the public, lawmakers, and the content industry about the importance of protecting fair use from DMCA abuses, so it seems likely that he will take advantage of Warner’s mistake to raise awareness of the issue. The fact that the notice was issued at all serves as yet another reminder of how easily the barrage of poorly considered DMCA takedowns can hit innocent bystanders.
This is yet another example of why professional writers need to be aware of and consider fair use, copyright, and other issues of authorship when writing for the web or when gathering clips for remix writing.
Professional writing professor Martine Rife recently testified before the Library of Congress US Copyright Office to argue in favor of expanding the DMCA to include professional writing students and their teachers, as well as any and all non-commercial use.
To learn more about the hearings and the DMCA, check out Martine’s blog, Radical Transparency, for a list of resources and links. You can also follow the process as Lessig fights the takedown notice on his blog or Twitter.