A YouTube video of a baby dancing to a Prince song was yanked for copyright infringement. Could your home video be next?
Everyone knows YouTube is the place for Moms to share cute kid videos with friends and family, but when a harmless video of Stephanie Lenz's kids dancing to "Let's Go Crazy" became target of the music industry, momlogic had to find out more.
Momlogic: Tell us what happened.
Stephanie: My kids like Prince's music, so I turned on "Let's Go Crazy," took a few seconds of them running around on video, and posted it on YouTube. About six months later, I received an email from YouTube saying my video had been flagged for content. Sure enough, I went on YouTube and realized my video had been suspended.
Momlogic: What was your reaction to the take-down notice?
Stephanie: Being able to share your videos online is like the new "brag book," but now we're being punished for using those resources? I don't want to have to second guess whether the character on my kid's shirt is OK for licensing reasons or that a particular toy is OK to include in a photo? You're fearful about every little thing, and it's a strange way to live or think.
I followed a case in the news where a woman was accused of downloading music. She lost her house and went bankrupt. It scared me that I got this notice, and then it made me angry that I was scared because I knew I didn't do anything wrong. Universal Music Group believed I infringed on their copyrighted material, so they contacted YouTube and YouTube took the video down.
I spoke with lawyers at EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and decided to sue. They have a page on their Website devoted to my case. There needs to be some accountability for filing those false claims, and that's what my lawsuit is about. I wanted to fight back for all the moms, dads, grandparents, and people who could fall victim to this.
Momlogic: What should Moms know about posting video and photos online?
Stephanie: When it comes to toys, characters on clothing, and products, it's a trademark issue. I am aware of it because lately I have been questioning everything. I don't post videos online anymore. I haven't posted videos since I received the take-down notice. It's changed the way I use the Internet. I am still making videos, but I don't post them. When making them, I turn off the radio or TV and I pay attention to what's going on in the background instead of the foreground. The purpose of the video was to feature my kids, and now I am more concerned with what's going on in the background.
Don't lay music over the top of a video. There are sites like Electronic Frontier Foundation that answer questions if you're not sure. I have gotten responses from other parents who told me they have videos online with music, but they never received warnings or notices.
In building a sense of community that Moms are creating via the Internet, we need to be able to feel free to use the technology that's available to us -- be it posting videos, photos, or writing in blogs. As long as it's legal and safe, who is some record company to tell us to stop?
As this is a issue that concerns many Moms, we'll keep you posted on updates from Stephanie's case. Do you think Stephanie's video was illegal?