Universal, which administers the copyrights to Prince's songs, claims that the "dancing baby" video violated copyright law because of the Prince background music. [Stephanie] Lenz, after initially taking down the video, later put it back up on YouTube and called the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, which promptly took her case pro bono and filed a countersuit against Universal in a San Jose federal court. Last week, lawyers from EFF and Universal filed opposing briefs arguing for summary judgment. A decision on those motions could come in a matter of months, and will likely decide the case.
However it turns out, the case will help define the limits of "fair use" in the digital age. Fair use is the doctrine that allows the use of copyrighted material if it's used for criticism, commentary, or transformed in a meaningful way. If copyright owners have to give greater consideration to fair use before sending takedown notices, it could make it more difficult for them to police sites like YouTube; advocacy groups like EFF say that's a small price to pay for defending fair-use rights.