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Australian Music Label Fights Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig Over Copyright

By 3 October 2013General Law

An Australian music label has found itself embroiled in a legal battle over copyright with Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig.

Liberation Music uses an automated computer system to search Youtube for copyright infringements. When the system finds some of their Intellectual Property being used, it sends an automated take-down notice to Youtube. Professor Lessig claims that such ‘extremist enforcement tactics’ have no appreciation for fair use considerations, a core concept in American copyright law due to constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

The video in question is a lecture given by Professor Lessig in South Korea on content collaboration, and features music whose copyright Liberation Music owns in Australia and New Zealand. The music is used in 5 clips highlighting ‘call and response’ communication, Professor Lessig talks throughout the songs.

The complaint by Liberation Music has been removed and the video is available on Youtube once more. The fight is only just beginning however, as Professor Lessig, supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is fighting the case against the automated detection system and the careless take-down notices that it produces.

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