At first I thought this story was going to be about a sex tape or something, but it’s not. It’s about a 29 second video of a baby dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” This is great.
Holden Lenz, 18 months old, is the pajama-clad star of a 29-second home movie shot by his mother in the family’s rural Pennsylvania kitchen and posted last February on the popular video site YouTube. In the video, the child is seen bouncing and swaying for the camera, as, faintly, the Prince hit “Let’s Go Crazy” plays on a CD player in the background. Twenty eight people, mostly friends and family, had viewed the YouTube video by June, when mom Stephanie Lenz said she received an e-mail from YouTube informing her that her video had been removed from the site at the request of Universal Music Publishing Group, the recording industry’s largest label, and warning her that future copyright infringements on her part could force the Web site to cancel her account.
“It was Universal Music Publishing Group, and I was afraid that … they might come after me. … And the more afraid I got, the angrier I got. … I was afraid that the recording industry might come after me the way they’ve come after other people for downloading music or file sharing. I thought even though I didn’t do anything wrong that they might want to file some kind of suit against me, take my house, come after me.”
Okay Stephanie, we all know how scary it is to receive that first threatening letter from a major music label, God knows I’ve received one or seven in my time, but just calm down. I’m sure no one’s going to sue you for making this sort of mistake. Especially if only 28 people saw the video. And if the biggest threat Universal actually made in their email was the potential for the canceling of your YouTube account, I think you’re okay. I mean, I know this means you’d lose all the videos that you tagged as being your “favorite,” but other than that it takes about 4 seconds to create a new account.
But, enough bashing on Stephanie. She is, after all, the victim here.
Shortly after receiving the “Prince has found you” email, “Lenz filed a “counter-notice” with YouTube, and the Web site put her video back up about six weeks later.”
“The ‘Let’s Go Crazy baby?'” she asked rhetorically. “When you look at the facts, it’s obvious that a take down notice should never have been sent. … I mean, nobody downloads a video from YouTube with a song on it — particularly 29 seconds of a song and says, ‘OK, I don’t have to buy the song’ — so clearly this was a type of use that didn’t violate copyright.”
Haha. That shit’s funny. And true. I like Stephanie’s dry humor.
A well-placed source directly involved in the situation confirmed to ABC News that Prince was directly involved in seeking the takedown of Lenz’s video.
“This guy scours the Internet,” the source said of the legendary artist, who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and wrote the word “Slave'” on his cheek until he won back the rights to his music from another publishing company.
“He’s really intense about this stuff,” the source said, adding that Lenz’s video “happened to be one of many” that artist apparently located online and demanded be taken down.
Jesus Christ, . We all know you have a Napoleon complex, but don’t act like you rule the world. I know you’re probably upset after realizing your 2007 Superbowl performance was overshadowed by your hair which was beautifully wrapped in a purple scarf, but don’t take your regret out on the little people. But I am happy to see that even iconic celebrities search for themselves on the internet. Humanizes them.
So in the end I, like Stephanie Lenz, think it’s ridiculous to force a video down for this reason. And seeing as how, “[t]his is the first major case that we’ve seen where someone like a housewife is being targeted by a major recording company, but we’re starting to see more and more of these kinds of abuses,” I think it’s good she’s counter-suing the company. Especially because it’s over a dancing baby.